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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

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Incredible Years Programme


The Incredible Years Parents and Children's Series are a set of three separate but interlocking programmes designed to prevent and treat conduct problems and promote social and emotional competence in children.  


Each of these programmes has been evaluated by the developer Professor Carolyn Webster-Stratton at the University of Washington, as well as by many independent investigations, and has been shown to be effective in reducing conduct problems and promoting social competence.  


The Incredible Years programmes are one of only two programmes identified by NICE (National Institute For Health and Clinical Excellence) as effective for the treatment of conduct disorders.


Although these programmes were originally developed as therapeutic interventions for referred children, they have since been evaluated when delivered as community based preventative interventions in high risk communities, demonstrating that they are equally strongly evidence-based community programmes.  


Whilst the parenting component is regarded as important in improving parent-child relationships, the parent programmes also help parents improve their relationship with their child's education providers, and help schools promote children's social competence.


The School Age Incredible Years programme is delivered in 12 two-hour sessions to parents of children aged 6 - 12 years.


The short term goals of the programme are:


Promote child competencies:



The programme is based on well-established behavioural / social-learning principles that describe how behaviours are learned and how they can be changed.  At the core of this approach is the simple idea that people change as a result of the interactions they have with one another on a daily basis.


One of the implications of this focus on interpersonal interactions is that, when children misbehave and families become disrupted, it is necessary to change the parents' behaviour as well the child's.  This approach does not assume that the child is at fault, or that the parent is inept.  Rather, the emphasis is placed on helping parents' responses to specific child behaviours.