Eliciting change in maltreating fathers: Goals, processes, and desired outcomes

Claire V. Crooks, Katreena L. Scott, Karen J. Francis, Tim Kelly, and Maureen Reid (2006)

Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 13, 71-81


There has been a growing recognition of the need to provide appropriate intervention services to fathers who have been abusive in their families. This paper highlights four specific treatment goals for fathers who maltreat their children, along with therapeutic strategies necessary to accomplish desired outcomes. These goals were developed as part of the Caring Dads: Helping fathers value their children program and include:1) Developing sufficient trust and motivation to engage men in the process of examining their fathering; 2) Increasing men’s awareness and application of childcentered fathering; 3) Increasing men’s awareness of, and responsibility for, abusive and neglectful fathering, including domestic violence, and 4) Rebuilding trust with their children and planning for the future. The strategies include a range of approaches, such as motivational interviewing, psychoeducation, cognitive-behavioral techniques, confrontation, and shame work. We describe each goal in terms of desired outcomes and primary therapeutic techniques used by the facilitators, and illustrate each with examples of exercises from the Caring Dads program. Implications for the training of therapists working with maltreating fathers are also highlighted.

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