Counselor Madelyn made this video to discuss setting limits using a concept pulled from Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), the “ACT” Method. A transcription of this video is available below.

Video Transcription:


Good morning, everybody. My name is Madeline. I am a counselor with Garrett Counseling. Today I want to talk to you a little bit about CPRT and one of the concepts pulled from CPRT.

So what is CPRT? CPRT is a therapeutic intervention that we do here and it stands for child parent relationship therapy. It is an intervention that is centered around above all strengthening your relationship with your child, strengthening your bond. It’s about promoting a safe environment, making your child feel safe, and making your child feel heard.

A lot of the concepts from CPRT involve choice-making so this is something that helps empower your child. It helps them feel in control and regulated, but above all the center focus of this therapeutic intervention is to help strengthen the bond that you already have.

It’s to help what good things that you do already. It’s to help what good bond you have already and make it even stronger. And this in turn is very therapeutic. It’s very mentally positive, and there’s a lot of good outcomes that come from this therapy.

I do want to stress that this therapy, a big misconception that some parents can kind of have about this therapy is that well, if I’m engaging in CPRT, that must mean I’m a bad parent. That is not the case.

What this is doing, it’s giving you skills in addition to the skills that you already have. It’s taking what you’re already great at and what you’re already amazing at, and just further giving you more tools, more skills, making you even more amazing, taking a good bond that you already have and making it stronger. And in turn, this is very beneficial for the children that we see.

So there are a lot of concepts from CPRT, and this goes from just 30-minute play sessions once a week where you are taught how to play in a therapeutic way, where you’re taught how to better empathize and reflect what your child is feeling through play. Like I said, there’s decision-making and choice-making and allowing your children to make their own decisions, promoting responsibility and independence.

But one of the concepts that I kind of want to talk about that I think is very beneficial, and it’s good in practice is called the ACT method. So the ACT method is a method of limit setting. So sometimes with children, we do have to set limits. Sometimes even in play therapy we have to set limits.

So how can we set a limit for our child without emotionally disrupting them? So this is where the ACT method comes in. So it stands for acknowledging the feeling, communicating the limit, and targeting alternatives. So a lot of what I’ve been saying with the ACT method is this is a way of setting a limit while simultaneously hearing your child, empowering your child, and still allowing them to feel like they’re in control.

So let’s say that we are playing. Let’s say that you and your child are playing a game and they start hitting you with a little toy bat, they start hitting you. This is a situation where you would want to set a limit. So a way to do this would be to acknowledge the feeling. So you would say to them, “Hey, like, I know you want to hit me with that bat, but I’m not for hitting.” So that’s acknowledging what they want to do. They want to hit you with that bat. It’s communicating the limit. “You can’t hit me with that bat. I’m not for hitting.”

And then what you want to do is you want to target alternatives. So this is going back to the concept of CPRT of allowing children to make choices. “So I know you want to hit me with that bat, but I’m not for hitting. What if we hit this pillow instead, or let’s hit this blanket instead.”

So that’s still allowing them to do what they do, but without putting yourself in danger, without putting them in danger. And at the same time, it’s still making them feel as though they have a choice and that this turn is empowering them.

So this is mostly geared for play therapy. It can be used outside of play therapy, but again this goes much more and deeper in CPRT. So if that is something that you are ever interested in, it is a therapeutic intervention that we offer. It is 10 sessions long. As I said, this is just giving you more tools and adding more tools to the tools that you already have in use already.