Early Pathways

Self-Paced Training for Mental Health Professionals

Young ChildrenThe Early Pathways Program is an online evidence-based training program for mental health professionals who serve families of young children with behavior problems.

The self-paced program provides a comprehensive and integrated assessment and treatment protocol for addressing significant behavior problems in children five years of age and younger including serious tantrums, aggression, property destruction and self-injury.

It is based on the proven treatment strategies of the Behavior Clinic, a partnership between Marquette University and Penfield Children's Center, which since its founding in 2003 has been at the forefront of efforts to help families address and overcome serious behavioral problems in young children.

While Early Pathways can be implemented in any clinical setting, it has proven most effective when it is delivered in the homes of families, particularly those who live in poverty.

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Recommended Background

Recommended minimum qualifications to implement the Early Pathways Program include a bachelor's degree in a mental health field.

Mental health professionals who have training and experience in early child development, social learning theory, cognitive behavior therapy and parenting younger children will be best prepared to successfully implement this program.

Course Format

This course comprises 20 hours of professional training in the form of video, readings, and exercises. Each module includes a post-test, which must be completed before a participant moves forward with the training.

A certificate verifying completion of the course, as well as the number of hours completed, is available upon successful completion of all modules.

Program Objectives

Mother and childThe Early Pathways Program contains three modules, each with unique learning objectives.

Module 1: Understanding Challenging Behaviors in Young Children

  • Learn to identify challenging behavior in young children and understand contributing risk factors.
  • Develop sensitivity when working in the home environment with culturally diverse families.

Module 2: The Intake Process

  • Learn to identify criteria for appropriate referrals and determine a course of action.
  • Learn to complete a home-based intake evaluation
  • Conceptualize presenting referral concerns.

Module 3: Treatment

  • Learn how to communicate effectively with parents.
    Establish positive family foundations, including child-led play, nurturing activities and effective praise.
  • Identify behaviors, components of a behavior cycle, and the STAR cognitive strategy.
  • Learn to teach parents how to give effective requests that strengthen children’s listening skills.
    Help to develop home routines, supervision and future planning.
  • Develop discipline strategies.
  • Implement and evaluate treatment effectiveness.

About the Authors

Dr. Robert Fox

Robert A. Fox, Ph.D. is a professor of counseling psychology at Marquette University and a licensed psychologist in Wisconsin and Illinois. He has written 11 books, published over 100 journal articles, and made numerous presentations at professional conferences, many of which were in the field of early childhood mental health. He developed the STAR Parenting Program in 1992 and the Parent Behavior Checklist in 1994. Dr. Fox founded the Behavior Clinic in 2003 (Fox, Keller, Grede & Bartosz, 2007) that resulted in the development of the Early Pathways Program in 2014. He has received several awards for his teaching, research, and service.

Brittany Gresl, M.A.Brittany L. Gresl, Ph.D. was a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Marquette University. She worked as a graduate student at the Behavior Clinic for five years providing direct services to young children with behavior problems from families in poverty. During her time at the clinic, she trained and supervised graduate students using the Early Pathways Program. Dr. Gresl also presented several papers and co-authored articles with Dr. Fox on early childhood mental health. She currently works as a pediatric psychologist at Children's Medical Center in Texas. Her doctoral dissertation at Marquette University included the development of a Treatment Barrier Scale for families involved in treatment programs.

Included with registration

*Please note: Once you register for the course online, you will receive access through a username and password. This information will generally be sent out to you by your requested email within 5-7 business days after registration.

For more information call (414) 288-5730 or email earlypathways@marquette.edu.

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