Questions About PMTO Treatment

1. What is the goal of PMTO treatment?

2.What does the treatment consist of?

3. Does this work?

4. What is the difference between PMTO and other services?

5. Who are PMTO therapists?

6. Should my child not participate in the treatment?

7. Where can my child and I receive PMTO treatment?


1. What is the goal of PMTO treatment?

The goal of the treatment is for parents and children to re-establish a positive relationship. PMTO also aims to reduce oppositional behavior and promote positive development.

By strengthening the parents in their parental role, PMTO helps them to interact appropriately with their children. In turn, this contributes to the children learning normal social skills and reduces the occurrence of problem behavior.


2.What does the treatment consist of?

The PMTO programme involves a close cooperation between the therapist and the family.

  • There are weekly meetings between the therapist and the parents.
  • Both parents should attend if they live together. Alternatively, any step-parent who lives with the child should participate.
  • The child participates in the meetings as necessary.
  • The parents receive training in constructive ways of interacting with their child and meeting their child's needs.
  • The focus is on the family's strengths.
  • The parents and therapist collaborate on developing the main and subsidiary goals for the treatment.
  • The parents and therapist collaboratively evaluate the goals throughout the treatment.
  • The treatment usually takes place over six to nine months.




3. Does this work?

PMTO treatment is effective both in relation to reducing problem behaviors and in relation to developing desired social behaviors.

Through PMTO treatment, family members improve their mutual interactions. In turn, this increases the likelihood that family members can function well together and it  reduces the likelihood that the child will continue to develop his or her problem behavior.

It has also been documented that PMTO treatment leads to an increase in the occurrence of:

  • Prosocial friends
  • Good academic performance
  • Ease of adaptation in school



4. What is the difference between PMTO and other services?

There are many different services for children with behavioral problems and their families.

One significant factor when selecting a service, is the extent to which the programmes effectivness has been documented. PMTO is a research-based programme. It has been documented that the programme leads to permanent positive changes, both in relation to a reduction of behavioral problems and to improving the interaction between parents and children.

In terms of contents, there are two things that separate PMTO from many other programmes.

Firstly, the treatment is mainly focused on the parents. The goal is to strengthen parenting skills, and thereby achieve improvements both for the child and for the family as a whole. This is a change in praxis, as many other programmes treat the children individually. In PMTO, the parents are considered the child's best helpers. A positive relationship should be re-established by having the parents change their interaction with the child.

Secondly, the treatment involves spending a lot of time training parents to use practical skills that they can apply in their interactions with their children at home. The treatment is action-oriented and assumes that the parents are active and initiate positive interaction with the child.


5. Who are PMTO therapists?

PMTO therapists have a three-year university college degree in health and social care, or alternatively a university degree in psychology, pedagogy or medicine. PMTO therapists are required to have clinical experience.

They also receive extensive and continuous training in the method. The PMTO handbook provides guidelines for therapists regarding what to discuss in each meeting with the parents, though this must be adapted for each family.


6. Should my child not participate in the treatment?

The most significant factor in terms of preventing and treating behavioral problems is the extent to which the parents use important parenting skills such as positive involvement, setting boundaries, and supervision.

The main focus of PMTO treatment is therefore to improve the parenting skills that parents use with their own children.

Children participate in the treatment to some extent – for example, at the start of the treatment when the therapist observes the interaction between the parents and the child, and again, towards the end of the treatment. The extent to which a child participates during the stages in - between varies. The child may attend meetings if the parents want feedback on how to solve specific challenges in their interactions, or if the child simply wishes to participate.

Additionally, a number of children receive social skills training in parallel with the PMTO training that the parents receive.


7. Where can my child and I receive PMTO treatment?

There are PMTO therapists across Norway, and their numbers are growing.

PMTO programmes are offered by a number of bodies:

  • Some municipalities/public health clinics/educational and psychological counselling services/child welfare services
  • The children and young people's psychiatric out-patient clinic
  • Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs
  • Some family counselling offices

To get in touch with the PMTO programme closest to where you live, enter your postal code in the menu on the right. Get in touch to set up an informal meeting.



PMTO services

Enter your postal code, city or county below to find the PMTO service closest to where you live.

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