NORWAY – With the ever increasing pressures that COVID-19 places on families struggling to balance work and school with health and emotional well-being, Maine Behavioral Health has developed new resources that focus on prevention and treatment of behavioral and emotional disorders in children and adolescents.
Two licensed clinical social workers based at MBH’s site in Norway, Alyssa Morrison and Nina Williams, have gained accreditation from the Positive Parenting Program, a program that promotes positive parenting in the community and aims to prevent a range of problems. social and behavioral issues in children.
“At Maine Behavioral Healthcare, we are deeply grateful to Alyssa and Nina for completing this training,” Norwegian Practice Director Kristie Worster wrote in a statement. “This increases the level of support we can offer to families in Maine who may be struggling to manage their behaviors at home. “
The Positive Parents program is commonly referred to as “Triple P”. It’s based on international evidence-based treatment and used in countries like Australia and Europe, according to Alyssa Morrison.
This is to help parents first assess their children’s behaviors and then develop strategies to meet their behavioral needs.
“We are focused on working with parents,” Morrison explained in a Zoom meeting last week. “The goal is to help them become more confident and proficient in managing their children’s behaviors at home, in public, wherever they need it.
“Typically we see clients for a number of issues, the goal being to help the client overcome their anxiety or depression using cognitive behavioral therapy. What’s different about Triple P is that it caters to families struggling with behaviors and the job is done with the parent and their management.
In Maine, especially in rural areas, behavioral health practitioners are encouraged to participate in certification training. The ultimate goal is to help reduce the instances in which child protection services intervene in family situations.
Morrison and Williams achieved Triple P accreditation in November. They work with primary care providers in western Maine to identify and refer families who will benefit from the parenting support program.
“We encourage parents to set goals for a specific behavior in their children that they wish to target,” Morrison said. “They’ll be tracking this behavior to get a sense of when it’s happening and what happens before and after. Then, in other sessions, we work with the parent on ways to get the child ready for dinner or bed, at times of transition when this behavior may be more problematic. How to stop negative behavior and properly use (methods like) timeouts. “
Since the pandemic, Morrison has seen children struggle even more as the structure they received during the school day has been lost; parents are forced to juggle jobs with kids at home instead of the classroom.
She said the emotional regulation imperative for learning and success has taken a hit in recent years. Triple P provides parents with broader tools to help their children deal with stressors and show emotions like anger before they act.
Morrison has just started integrating Triple P with a family client and the parent is already realizing what triggers their child’s behavior, helping them respond in a way that supports them and alleviates stressors. .
“Especially now, because of the pandemic, children may experience difficulties that amplify the effects of behavioral and emotional disorders,” Worster said in his statement. With their Triple P accreditation, Alyssa and Nina are uniquely positioned to serve children and families (Western Maine) facing these challenges.
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