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Thesis

Treatment of childhood firesetting in outpatient mental health

26 July 2002

Abstract

Mental health providers treating children, adolescents, and families in outpatient facilities have little information available to them in regards to treating fire setting behavior problems. The current literature on fire setting behaviors among children and adolescents tends to focus on the characteristics, classification, theory, and assessment of fire setting among this population. However, little research has been done to provide an empirically validated treatment for the child and adolescent fire setter, leading the outpatient mental health provider to improvise when treating children, adolescents, and families presenting with fire setting behaviors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether children with fire setting behaviors were being referred for outpatient mental health treatment, and in addition, to determine how the children and families presenting with this problem were being treated within outpatient mental health systems. A questionnaire was sent to mental health providers in the Portland metropolitan area who serve children and families in order to obtain information about child fire setters in outpatient treatment. It was found that children and adolescents are presenting to therapy with fire setting behavior problems, and a variety of treatment techniques have been used to treat them. The most frequent techniques are Family Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and Behavior Modification.


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