The person within: parents and professionals’ views about the practitioner’s role in a parenting program

Sara Leitão*, Rita Francisco, M. Filomena Gaspar, Maria João Seabra-Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Practitioners’ characteristics and actions influence the implementation of evidence-based programs, but little is known about the practitioner’s role in the implementation of parent-based programs. The present qualitative study is the first to explore the perceptions of parents and professionals regarding the practitioners’ characteristics and actions which influence the implementation of a parent program directed at children’s behavior problems. Using thematic analysis, data were examined from eight focus groups comprising 24 parents and 19 practitioners who have participated in the Incredible Years parent group program (IYPP). The analysis identified three groups of practitioners’ characteristics perceived to impact the implementation of the IYPP: inferred interpersonal characteristics (genuine interest; empathy and warmth; positive regard; humbleness); inferred intrapersonal characteristics (objectivity; flexibility; well-being; reflexiveness) and objective characteristics (similar age; being a parent; clinical professional background; professional experience with children and the IYPP). These personal characteristics are perceived as serving to underpin practitioners’ actions, and an integrated framework model is proposed where specific practitioners’ actions are understood in relation to personal characteristics. Inferred characteristics are perceived as determinants in the intervention process while objective characteristics are seen as facilitators of parent engagement in the earliest stages of intervention. Finally, most of the characteristics and actions perceived as relevant in this study are contemplated in the IYPP model; however, the practitioners’ intrapersonal well-being, self-reflexiveness and genuineness emerged as characteristics which may merit further consideration. The results from this study suggest that in the IYPP the person of the practitioner may indeed be worthy of more critical examination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1452–1469
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Behavior problems
  • Incredible years
  • Parenting
  • Practitioner
  • Qualitative


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