The Good Enough Parenting early intervention schema therapy based program: Participant experience

John Philip Louis, Vida Ortiz, Joanna Barlas, Joyce Sue Lee, George Lockwood, Wayne Freeman Chong, Karen McDonald Louis, Patricia Sim
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0243508

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Schema therapy (ST) has become a mainstream therapy for the treatment of psychopathology and has been validated through a series of large scale, international randomized control trials. Among other things, schema therapy emphasizes the meeting of core emotional needs in children by primary caregivers as these unmet needs continue to adversely affect their lives into adulthood. An early intervention parenting program has been developed to help parents meet these core emotional needs in order to prevent the development of psychopathology in the first place. The program, Good Enough Parenting, is equally focused on reducing problems and strengthening parenting practices, regardless of where the child is on the "disordered to well-being continuum". This study aims to explore "patient experience" by users of this program. Best clinical research guidelines advocate that participants should be used as collaborators rather than pure recipients; this process should predate large scale trials.

DESIGN: An exploratory qualitative study with 55 parent-participants of Good Enough Parenting was conducted.

METHODS: One-to-one interviews were conducted with participants, using critical incident technique and guided by semi-structured interview schedule, to explore their experiences with the program. Transcripts were then analyzed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Coding showed a high degree of inter-rater reliability (kappa value of 0.78). The themes that emerged were Cultivating Awareness of Parents' Own Schemas, Cultivating Intentionality, Working through Developmental Issues, Responses to Challenges at Home, Performing Multiple Roles, and the Learning Process. Participants overwhelmingly reported satisfaction within these key themes.

CONCLUSIONS: The results support the development of the program and the choice of "participant reported outcome measures" for use in subsequent randomized controlled trials.

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