CPS validated as treatment for challenging behaviour
Above: Dr Rachael Murrihy, Director of The Kidman Centre, announcing findings from the Side-by-Side study to a full house of supporters at its new Randwick premises.
Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS) validated as alternative to "rewards and punishment" approach for children with disruptive behaviour
The Kidman Centre UTS today announced the findings from a 5-year randomised comparison trial – called Side-by-Side – that validates a new evidence-based alternative to the widely practiced ‘rewards and punishment’ approach to managing children with challenging behaviour.
Parent Management Training (PMT), based on the principle that behaviour is learnt and modified through positive reinforcement and punishment processes, uses strategies such as praise, time out and reward charts. While it is considered the ‘gold standard’ treatment for children with behaviour problems, it doesn’t work to a satisfactory level for 30-40 percent of families treated.
In a bid to uncover more options for these families and caregivers, The Kidman Centre compared the effectiveness of PMT with an alternative therapy called Collaborative and Proactive Solutions (CPS), for the treatment of oppositional children aged 7 to 14 years from 130 families over 5 years.
Results from the trial showed that CPS was an effective treatment, and that treatment outcomes were equal to those of Parent Management Training.
Dr Rachael Murrihy, Director of The Kidman Centre and research lead, said, “CPS is a completely different approach for the management of behaviour problems to anything that’s been used previously. We’ve seen some amazing results in families who were at a loss as to how to manage their child and who felt they were out of options.”
The validation of CPS as an effective alternative therapy has the potential to transform the lives of many thousands of families, caregivers and teachers struggling every day. We are excited by what this means in terms of equipping these people with another evidence-based tool.”
Initially developed by Dr Ross Greene, formerly of Harvard Medical School, CPS is based on the premise that children will do well when they are able, and that their behavioural challenges arise from underdeveloped skills. CPS identifies the child’s underdeveloped skills – for example, managing frustration – that are the underlying cause of the challenging behaviours. Together, the parent and child work through a series of steps to understand and problem-solve a way forward.
One family whose son, nearly five, was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in early 2019 following almost a year of trying a range of clinical and other interventions, said the impact of CPS for them has been life-changing.
Mother Lidia said, “As a family, we have experienced a rollercoaster ride these past few years, scrambling for help while sitting on waiting lists, seeing therapists and trialling a range of parenting methods and interventions without success. Rewards, consequences and time-outs simply didn’t work for us, and rendered us as parents more resentful, angry, desperate and isolated with deeper feelings of guilt, because we were told it should work ‘if you are doing it right’, and our son felt like he couldn’t do anything right.”
“CPS allowed us to see our son in a different light – to change the lens through which we viewed him – and helped us to understand that his behaviours were not because he was inherently ‘naughty’ or wanted to make our life difficult, but that he didn’t have the skills to manage his emotions. CPS has shown us how to identify these ‘lagging skills’, and how to address them collaboratively, allowing him to have a sense of agency in finding a way forward. CPS has helped us to take a more empathetic view of how our son might be experiencing the world and strengthened our connection and respect for him as a person,” said Lidia.
Dr Ross Greene said, “I’m encouraged by the results from this study, further highlighting the effectiveness of CPS as a practical, evidence-based option for families with children struggling with behaviour problems.”
The results were met with excitement by the scientific community when they were presented in Berlin at the 9th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies Berlin in July this year. Today's announcement to the broader community coincides with National Mental Health Week.
The CPS section on our website has more about our clinic, or visit Dr Greene's Lives in the Balance website for more information and free resources for parents, educators and healthcare professionals.