Fathers for Change
Fathers for Change is designed to be offered individually to fathers who have young children (under 12 years) with a history of intimate partner violence (IPV). The Fathers for Change intervention includes 9 core topics, 4 co-parent and 5 father-child topics to be delivered in 60 minute sessions of individual treatment over 16-24 weeks. The intervention combines attachment, family systems and cognitive behavioral theory with the goals of:
- Cessation of violence and aggression;
- Abstinence from substances;
- Improved co-parenting;
- Decreased negative parenting behaviors; and
- Increased positive parenting behaviors.
Following comprehensive assessment, treatment progresses first to individual-focused sessions followed by co-parenting focused sessions and ending with restorative parenting sessions. Fathers for Change is unique in its focus on the paternal role throughout treatment, both in terms of the father-child and the co-parenting relationships. The central premise is that focus on men as fathers and increasing their feelings of competence and meaning within their parenting role, will provide motivation to change maladaptive patterns that have led to use of aggression and substances to control negative or inefficacious feelings.
Fathers for Change is an individual treatment with an optional co-parent component that may include his co-parent in sessions (if she wishes to participate and the clinician feels it is safe) and an optional father-child component to include several sessions with his child. The program begins with sessions designed to enhance motivation by focusing on the role of men as fathers to their young children, child development and the impact of violence and substance abuse on parenting, and the father’s own childhood experiences of substance abuse and trauma to highlight the multigenerational nature of these problems. Fathers for Change then focuses on skills training in the following areas:
- Identification of unhelpful and/or hostile thoughts and their origins
- Understanding feelings and emotion regulation
- Reflective functioning related to self, co-parent and children
- Communication and problem solving around co-parenting
- Restorative parenting.
Fathers must gain some mastery and have success in early components of the intervention to progress to co-parenting and restorative parenting focused sessions.
Dr. Carla S. Stover, Ph.D.
E-mail for further information about Fathers for Change.