An ecological approach to child and family clinical and counseling psychology

Elizabeth A. Stormshak, Thomas J. Dishion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The ecological model of child and family clinical and counseling psychology considers mental health service delivery within a health maintenance framework, approaching the complexity of children's behavior in a systematic and organized fashion using science-based intervention practices. The service delivery framework integrates assessment, intervention, and motivation at all phases of an intervention. Assessments enhance the participants' and professionals' appraisal, which in turn impact motivation to change. Interventions are sensitive to assessment-based targets and participant motivation. A menu of interventions range from assessment, feedback, and brief interventions to more extensive mental health services, potentially integrated with other community agencies and school settings. The ecological model suggests revisions in the conceptualization of child and adolescent psychopathology, training for mental health professionals, and strategies for the design and testing of interventions. In general, a reformulation of mental heath services for children and families within an ecological framework enhances the potential for integrating science and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-215
Number of pages19
JournalClinical Child and Family Psychology Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Child and family interventions
  • Child therapy
  • Conduct problems
  • Ecological model
  • Family therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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