Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

The Efficacy of Child Parent Relationship Therapy for Adoptive Families: A Replication Study

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

The Efficacy of Child Parent Relationship Therapy for Adoptive Families: A Replication Study

Article excerpt

Adoptive families represent a growing segment of the population in the United States. Approximately 136,000 children are adopted yearly (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2012), adding to the current estimate of 2 million adoptees (Kreider & Lofquist, 2014). Children's preadoption experiences vary on a continuum of supportive and nurturing to neglectful and abusive. Children whose early experiences included abuse, neglect, and inconsistent caregiving often exhibit intense emotional and behavioral challenges (Brodzinsky, 2013; Hughes, 2006) and may reject adoptive parents' efforts to connect and form a close relationship (Lanius, Vermetten, & Pain, 2010; Nelson, Bos, Gunnar, & Sonuga-Barke, 2011). Adoptive parents are often confused, discouraged, and hurt by their child's intense reactions (Hughes, 2006). Consequently, up to 25% of adoptions result in disruptions or termination (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2012). In response to this dismal statistic and recognizing a scarcity of proven adoption-competent services, the Donaldson Adoption Institute commissioned a study to identify and evaluate empirically supported adoption-specific interventions (Brodzinsky, 2013). Brodzinsky (2013) identified a handful of promising parent-child interventions and named child parent relationship therapy (CPRT; Landreth & Bratton, 2006) as the parent-child intervention demonstrating the most robust empirical support for adoptive families. Brodzinsky's conclusion was based on the findings from a single CPRT study with adoptive families (Carnes-Holt & Bratton, 2014). According to the American Psychological Association (2002), "a single experiment from one setting does not provide sufficient evidence of efficacy" (p. 1055). Replication of findings is required to determine whether an intervention is evidence based for a specific population or presenting concern (Weir, 2015; Weisz & Kazdin, 2010). Because of the dearth of interventions proven effective for adoptive families whose children have experienced numerous early adverse experiences, the need to identify evidence-based treatments for this population of families is especially compelling.

Attachment Needs of Adoptive Families

Over half of children adopted annually have experienced multiple disruptions in their relationships with caregivers (Public Broadcasting Service, 2010; Purvis, Cross, & Sunshine, 2007), with higher rates for children adopted internationally and through the foster care system (Carnes-Holt & Bratton, 2014; Tan, 2006). Compared with their peers, adopted children with a history of attachment disruptions and related adverse experiences are at greater risk for impaired holistic functioning, particularly in the social-emotional realm (Hussey, Falletta, & Eng, 2012; Tan & Marfo, 2016; van IJzendoorn & Juffer, 2006). Children who lacked attuned and predictable caregiving early on tend to form insecure attachment. As a result, adoptees often struggle to form close emotional connections with their new caregivers and with others throughout their lifetime (Brodzinsky, 2013; Perry & Szalavitz, 2006; Purvis et al., 2007).

Insecurely attached children may view others and the world as harsh, uncertain, and unreliable; have a propensity to avoid closeness with their caregivers; have feelings of anxiety and uncertainty when they need to depend on their caregivers; and are unsure what to expect from their caregivers (Bowlby, 1988). They often misattune to their new caregivers and misread the cues of others. To protect themselves, adoptees may create defensive strategies that conflict with their desire to attach and connect with those around them (Siegel & Hartzell, 2004). Adoptive parents are often confused and hurt by their child's emotionally and behaviorally reactive responses and report an overall lack of enjoyment in parenting the adoptee (Hughes, 2006; Purvis et al., 2007).

The majority of adoptive families are required to participate in preadoption preparation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.