Alternatives for Families: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) is an evidence-based intervention designed to improve the relationship between children and their caregivers by addressing individual and family problems relating to:

  • Frequent family conflicts
  • Behavior problems, including physical aggression
  • Anger and verbal aggression, including emotional abuse
  • Harsh physical discipline, physical aggression, or child physical abuse
  • Child trauma-related symptoms secondary to any of the above

Any and all of these patterns above may be demonstrated by an individual caregiver or a child/adolescent, but they may also characterize the interactions of the entire family.   Accordingly, AF-CBT targets caregiver and child/adolescent characteristics, and the larger family context.

Learn more about AF-CBT by visiting the website, or visit the California Evidenced-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare for detailed information on AF-CBT and other evidenced-based treatments.

AF-CBT Therapists

Matt Fosket, MA, LMHP, NCC (Certified AF-CBT Therapist)

Kris Steinbeck, MS, LIMHP, NCC

AF-CBT should be conducted by individuals who have been formally trained in the model and who are familiar with the content, methods, assessments, and fidelity tools that are required to ensure effective administration of this approach. AF-CBT is appropriate for application in diverse settings, especially outpatient, in-home, and residential services. It is being used on a preliminary basis in group settings.
AF-CBT is a short-term treatment typically provided once or twice a week, that may require 18 to 24 hours of service (or longer based on individual needs) over 6 to 12 months (although treatment may last as long as determined necessary). During AF-CBT, school-aged children (5-15) and their caregivers participate in separate but coordinated therapy sessions, often using somewhat parallel treatment materials. In addition, children and caregivers attend joint sessions together at various times throughout treatment. This approach seeks to address individual and caregiver-child issues in an integrated fashion.