Physical Abuse & Family Conflict
Kristi House Children's Advocacy Center > Services > Traumas > Physical Abuse & Family Conflict

Kristi House began its program for physical abuse in 2016, treating the entire family when there is conflict or aggression. Trained by the intervention’s developer, Dr. David Kolko, Kristi House clinicians use Alternative for Families Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT), an effective intervention for dealing with anger, behavior and other family issues.

Alternatives for Families:

A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT)

AF-CBT is a behavioral family intervention for school-aged children (5-17) and their caregivers that targets concerns with conflict, anger, aggression, or ineffective discipline (see  The child and caregiver attend both individual and joint/family sessions across three phases:

  1. Engagement/psychoeducation
  2. Individual skills-building
  3. Family applications

Participants learn to apply evidence-based coping and interpersonal skills.

AF-CBT integrates common intervention techniques to enhance emotion regulation, perspective-taking, positive parenting and behavior management skills, social skill, recovery from traumatic experience, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and healthy family communication.

Who is Eligible for AF-CBT?

A family with any or all of the following:

  • A family or caregiver-child dyad experiencing frequent conflicts, arguments, or angry feelings.
  • A caregiver with concerns about using harsh/ineffective physical force/discipline, who has done something that could have injured/hurt a child, or who has an allegation/report of physical or emotional abuse.
  • A child (5-17) who exhibits behavioral dysfunction (e.g., aggression; Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder), or experiences trauma symptoms (e.g., PTSD) secondary to physical abuse/aggression.


Is the Family able to benefit from AF-CBT?

Key Criteria:

  • Child age 5-17 is able to participate in services now or soon
  • At least one caregiver is able to participate in services now or soon
  • Child and caregiver could be together in joint family sessions
  • Participants could benefit from services (i.e., are not inappropriate due to severe cognitive limitations/mental illness/drug abuse)
  • If they are separated, reunification is a possible end goal after addressing conflict
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