Changing problematic parent–child interaction in child anxiety disorders: The promise of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)


Jacquelyn N. Raftery-Helmer, Phoebe S. Moore, Lisa Coyne, Kathleen Palm Reed


Anxiety disorders present a significant concern for children, affecting up to 20% of those under 12 years old. The importance of parenting behavior in the development and maintenance of childhood anxiety disorders has been established both theoretically and empirically. We review the literature on cognitive-behavioral parenting interventions aimed at reducing child anxiety and discuss the limitations of this approach and of the research to date. We then present Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a treatment model that holds promise for shifting problematic parent–child interactions, and we review the relevant theoretical and empirical literature supporting this promise.

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