Emotion-focused skills training for parents with anxious children. A pilot study

J Marital Fam Ther. 2023 Jul;49(3):581-594. doi: 10.1111/jmft.12643. Epub 2023 Apr 23.


Anxiety disorders are common among children and adolescents. Effective treatments exist, but meta-analyses indicate that 40% of children continue to have significant symptoms posttreatment. Alternative therapeutic interventions are needed. Emotion-focused parental interventions have been found to be effective in targeting children's internalizing difficulties, but no research has examined remission. In this pilot trial, we examined whether Emotion Focused Skills Training (EFST) was associated with remission of diagnosis in children with anxiety. Nine 8-14-year-olds diagnosed with anxiety were recruited at a mental health clinic in Norway. Both parents of each child attended a 2-day EFST program followed by five 1-hour weekly sessions. Pre- and posttreatment diagnosis and severity were evaluated using a multiinformant approach using the Spence Children's Anxiety Scale and the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule. After treatment, 33% no longer met criteria for any anxiety diagnosis, 66% obtained remission from their primary anxiety diagnosis, and 89% from at least one.

Keywords: assessment/diagnosis; children/adolescents; clinical; emotion-focused; intervention/technique; outcome; populations; research.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Anxiety* / psychology
  • Child
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Pilot Projects