The use of therapeutic scaffolding
In using the term psycho-education we recognise that parents cannot simply proceed to make changes without the support of what may be described as the therapeutic scaffold. The therapeutic scaffold offered by the therapist in time-limited psychotherapy with parents, is represented by combining understanding of the meaning of behaviour and how it is enacted, with how a different pattern of behaviour can be established. For example, with respect to the four-year-old boy, it became clear that within their own home the boy did as he liked since his parents had never made clear to him what the rules of the household were. Helping the parents firstly to establish reasonable ground rules and then introduce them to their son, formed a part of creating this therapeutic scaffold. In these situations the focus is on helping the child to succeed and to find ways of managing their frustration, rather than to ignore the child and become angry when they act out. This involves helping the parents to be active and involved directly with their child and to begin to learn how to anticipate and prevent outbursts from happening, rather than conducting their parenting at arms length such as calling out for the child to stop an annoying activity when they are in a different room.