International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 4 Num. 3 - November 2004


The Role of Cognitive Fusion in Impaired Parenting: An RFT Analysis [El Papel de la Fusi?n Cognitiva en las Interacciones Problem?ticas Padres-hijos]

Volume 4 Num. 3 - November 2004 - Pages 469-486


Lisa W. Coyne and Kelly G. Wilson ,


Traditional behavioral accounts of impaired parenting have done much to elucidate the specific behavioral interactions between parents and children that play a role in developing and maintaining child misbehavior. Several highly praised behavioral treatments demonstrating efficacy across certain parent populations have been developed based on these theories. However, such approaches have been criticized for their insensitivity to the context of a given act or behavior, and their limited attention to the impact of parents? private events in their interactions with their children. Moreover, their demonstrated effects with parents struggling with psychopathology, poverty, or other stressors have been at best inconsistent. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) offers a comprehensive theoretical framework through which to extend existing behavioral models of impaired parenting, and to suggest new directions for treatment. RFT provides a model for elucidating the role of verbal processes and contextual variables in impaired parenting repertoires. This paper will address the role of parent cognition and cognitive fusion in the development and maintenance of maladaptive parenting, especially with regard to young children. A case conceptualization and intervention dually targeting skills deficits and parent verbal behaviors is presented. Mindfulness (defusion), acceptance, and values are discussed as key processes in treatment

Key words:

Parenting, parent training, mindfulness, relational frame theory, acceptance

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