The 4 Rs and 2 Ss for Strengthening Families is a manualized, multiple family group therapy program designed for families who have a child between 7–11 years old diagnosed with a disruptive behavior disorder. The goals of the program are to 1) provide family time to develop and practice communication and togetherness, 2) reduce stigma of mental health issues by normalizing the family’s experience within a group, and 3) promote continued learning outside the group.
The multiple family group intervention is a 16-week series of meetings guided by a protocol that was developed by a collaborative group of parent advocates, providers, and the research staff. Groups are held on a weekly basis. A multidisciplinary team of one clinician and one parent advocate delivers the training to groups of six to eight families during weekly, 1-hour sessions. Adaptations that allow for a clinician to work with an individual family, and over a more condensed 8-week time frame, are also available.
The program focuses on helping families to strengthen four aspects of family functioning that have been empirically linked to childhood behavioral disorders. Specifically, four broad conceptual categories related to parenting skills and family processes form the targets for the 4 Rs and 2 Ss multiple family group service delivery approach. These include Rules, Responsibility, Relationships, and Respectful communication (4 Rs). Stress and Social Support (2 Ss) were added as the targets of the program to describe the impacts of child service engagement and outcome.