Fathers Need Treatment and Treatment Needs Fathers: Engaging Male Caregivers Effectively in Parenting Interventions.


Fathers have historically been neglected in the research on parenting and in the clinical setting. Despite repeated calls from the literature to more effectively engage with fathers and to include them in research and treatment, systemic biases about the roles of mothers and fathers perpetuate the overburdening of female caregivers and the marginalization of male caregivers (Fabiano & Caserta, 2018; Panter-Brick et al., 2014; Tully et al., 2018). Over the past 50 years, the amount of time fathers engage with their children has tripled (Parker & Livingston, 2017). As fathers spend more time parenting, they experience an even greater need for effective support; yet most fathers report not knowing how or where to get that support, and many fathers are reluctant to reach out for help (Triemstra et al,. 2017). This presentation will discuss the influence of fathers on children’s socioemotional development, review the importance of fathers’ participation in parent-child interventions, consider the barriers to fathers’ access to and engagement in treatment, and offer useful clinical strategies to build an inclusive treatment environment for all caregivers (Niec, 2022).

Lessons Learned from the International Dissemination of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. (SIMPOSIUM)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a powerful intervention for young children that addresses a range of externalizing (e.g., conduct disorder) and internalizing (e.g., anxiety) problems. With 45 years of research behind it, PCIT promotes healthy parent-child interactions through in vivo therapeutic coaching that brings about genuine and lasting change in parent and child behaviors. PCIT can be used successfully with vulnerable populations such as children with developmental disabilities, children who have experienced trauma, and children in fostercare. In the United States, PCIT has been named a best practice intervention in cases of child physical abuse. Currently, PCIT has been disseminated to 21 countries. Some of those countries have thriving, nation-wide PCIT programs, while others have only a handful of certified PCIT therapists. This symposium will consider lessons learned for the international dissemination of PCIT through four presentations: the first presentation (Portell) will provide support for the effectiveness of PCIT in the United States and a successful model of domestic dissemination; the second presentation (Abrahamse), will examine the process of dissemination in the Netherlands and describe the efficacy of PCIT with Dutch families; the third presentation (Dell’armi) will consider the challenges and successes observed in the dissemination of PCIT in France; and the fourth presentation (Galán) will explore the current state of parent-child interventions in Spain and consider the fit of PCIT for the needs of Spanish families.


Central Michigan University. United States

Dr. Niec is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Center for Children, Families, and Communities at Central Michigan University. Her research program seeks to build health equity for underserved families and focuses on improving the process of therapist training. She has trained therapists in the evidence-based transdiagnostic intervention Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) for over twenty-five years. Dr. Niec publishes extensively on PCIT outcome, implementation, and training. Her most recent books include Handbook of PCIT: Innovations & Applications for Research and Practice (Springer Nature) and Strengthening the Parent-Child Relationship in Therapy: Laying the Foundation for Healthy Development (American Psychological Association).