Assessment and Intervention with Children and Adolescents Who Misuse Fire: Practitioner Guide

ISBN : 9780190261191

David J. Kolko; Eric M. Vernberg
264 Pages
216 x 279 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
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It's surprisingly common for children and adolescents to play with fire and to actually set fires. A single fire has the potential to cause a cascade of serious consequences to children, families, and their community, sometimes with devastating impact. Yet, there is limited practical information and evidence-based advice available to help programs and practitioners with children and adolescents who engage in this behavior. Assessment and Intervention with Children and Adolescents Who Misuse Fire presents practical guidelines to facilitate the clinical assessment and treatment of youth firesetting. Based on nearly four decades of research and intervention experience, the treatment is directed toward reducing any inappropriate involvement in fire or related activities in order to lower the risk for property damage, personal injury, and other adverse consequences associated with these behaviors. This evidence-based intervention provides clinicians with a comprehensive program for school-aged children, early adolescents, and adolescents, and the child and his/her caregiver(s) are both important participants in treatment. The modular approach allows for therapists to be flexible in deciding which topics to cover in order to best meet the needs of children and families. This treatment model encourages more appropriate and safe behaviors in both children/adolescents and their caregivers and provides skills likely to discourage fire involvement. In addition, the materials promote controlling exposure to incendiary materials and opportunities to use fire. The intervention is provided in a single volume, encompassing a practitioner guide, parent workbook, and child/adolescent workbook, including handouts for participating clients.


1: The Significance of the Problem
2: Implementation: Feedback and Guidelines
3: Screening and Assessment
4: Understanding the Child's Firesetting
5: Parent Preparation for Treatment: Goals, Targets, and Initial Plans
6: Teaching Fire Safety Education: Basic Awareness Concepts
7: Teaching Fire Safety Education: Strategies to Support Safety
8: Basic Parenting Skills: Building Positive Parent-Child Relationships
9: Affect Regulation and Cognitive Control
10: Effective Problem-Solving
11: Basic Parent Management Skills: Using Consequences to Correct Problem Behavior
12: Being Assertive: Standing Up for Yourself
13: Update and Review of Home Management Plan/Program
14: Skill Review, Follow-up Plans, and Termination
15: Professional and Program Development
Appendix A: Practitioner Forms
Appendix B: Child Forms
Appendix C: Parent Forms
About the Authors

About the author: 

David J. Kolko, Ph.D., ABPP, is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, Pediatrics, and Clinical and Translational Science, at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is Director of the Special Services Unit at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, a program devoted to the development and dissemination of evidence-based practices for children/adolescents served in diverse community settings or systems including juvenile justice, child welfare, pediatric primary care, public safety, and mental health.; Eric M. Vernberg, Ph.D, ABPP, is a Professor in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas. He is also Director of the KU Child and Family Services Clinic, the primary clinical training clinic for the CCPP. Dr. Vernberg's research program involves applying and advancing psychological science to solve real world problems faced by children, adolescents, and their families.

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