The Incredible Years® programme was developed by Clinical Psychologist Carolyn Webster-Stratton in Seattle, Washington. Dr Webster-Stratton’s programmes have been extensively researched over the past 30 years, and are now being delivered in many parts of the world, including Europe, Scandinavia, Australasia, and the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out the culturally enhanced group leader resources.
There are separate parenting programmes for babies aged 0 to 1, toddlers aged 1-3, pre-schoolers aged 3-6 and school-age children aged 6-12. Programmes vary in length from 8 to 20 weeks. Visit Incredible Years.
The programme is designed to be responsive to a variety of learning styles and capabilities. The programme operates a collaborative model based on Social Learning Theory whereby parents are encouraged to share their experiences in a non-judgemental environment, view video examples and have opportunities to practice new parenting skills in the session and at home. Weekly sessions involve two group leaders and are generally 2 to 2 ½ hours in length. Ideally, groups include between 10 and 15 parents.
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
- Ministry of Education
There is considerable international research evidence supporting the effectiveness of this programme with a diverse range of populations. A detailed list of research articles can be found on the Incredible Years® website - http://incredibleyears.com/research-library/.
Internationally, the Incredible Years® programme has been formally recognised –
- selected by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as an "exemplary" best practice program and as a "Blueprints" program.
- selected as a "Model" program by the Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). As such, the series has been subject to numerous randomized control evaluations, evidenced excellent effectiveness, and attained high overall ratings.
- recommended by the American Psychological Division 12 Task force as a well-established treatment for children with conduct problems.
New Zealand Research
An increasing body of evidence from New Zealand-based research, so far fully supports the international research and the programme’s applicability to the New Zealand cultural context. This has included an evaluation of a marae-based programme, utilising Māori-specific outcome measures, supported the use of Incredible Years® as an effective intervention with Māori families (Altena & Herewini 2008).
A joint interagency evaluation has also suggested equally high positive outcomes for families/whanau and equally high satisfaction ratings (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, & The Werry Centre 2012).
Group Leaders should ideally have a background in Nursing, Social Work, Psychology, Psychiatry, Family therapy, Counselling or Teaching, and a sound knowledge of child development. A three-day basic training is offered throughout New Zealand providing facilitators with an introduction to the programme and the skills required to deliver the programme.
The Incredible Years Basic Training Workshop is provided by an Accredited Mentor and runs over 3 days. This training includes:
- a summary of the theory, research and background to the programme
- an overview of the programme content
- an opportunity to become familiar with the session format
- practical and experiential learning
- opportunities to practice group facilitation skills
Facilitators must attend all 3 days to obtain their training certificate. The training is free of charge to participants.
Visit Workshop Overview for more information.
Werry Workforce Whāraurau offers ongoing support and professional development opportunities for trained group leaders to ensure programme fidelity and best outcomes for families. Explore the Workshop Overview for a description of all workshops and visit ‘Programme Fidelity’ for how to achieve Accreditation as a group leader.
Māori and Pacific group leaders are offered enhanced support through targetted funding. This includes Māori hui and Pacific fono, and culture-specific workshops enabling group leaders to share experiences, develop skills, and consider ways in which Incredible Years® can be woven into Māori and Pacific world views and customs.
Accreditation is achieved when group leaders demonstrate consistent adherence to programme fidelity. Programme fidelity ensures that families achieve their parenting goals, so group leaders who achieve Accreditation can be confident that they are providing an effective evidence-based programme which maximises positive outcomes for parents. Support for group leaders who are progressing towards Accreditation ensures that it is both a challenging and rewarding experience which is invaluable for professional skill development. Social service agency employers can be confident that group leaders are operating within a “best practice model” for families. The core collaborative and strengths-based approaches of the Incredible Years Parent Programme apply equally to all family support interventions.
Accreditation as a group leader involves submitting a filmed group session for review, completing paperwork including an application form and parent evaluations from two complete programmes. Review of group leaders work is provided by a Mentor who gives feedback and assesses whether the programme is being run with fidelity. A complete list of the requirements for attaining Accreditation as a group leader is available from the following link -
Consultation Days are offered throughout the year for Group Leaders who have completed training and are delivering groups. Werry Workforce Whāraurau also support Peer Coaches to deliver Programme Fidelity Workshops. For more information visit ‘Workshop Overview’ or contact Lisa Glynn, Incredible Years Project Manager at email@example.com.
Group Leaders can also apply for Accreditation directly to Incredible Years in Seattle – see http://incredibleyears.com/certification-gl/basic-program/.
Werry Workforce Whāraurau is committed to supporting the on-going development of group leaders and to the sustainability of The Incredible Years workforce in New Zealand. Regular Consultation Days are offered each year for all group leaders, including accredited leaders.
Once a group leader has achieved accreditation, experienced group leaders may be nominated by a Mentor to progress towards Accreditation as a Peer Coach. Not all group leaders are eligible to progress in this manner. More information about Peer Coaching is available here. Peer Coaches may be eligible to work towards Accreditation as a Mentor, if nominated and seen to be appropriately experienced and skilled.
There is a wide range of parenting programmes currently offered throughout New Zealand. Currently, those programmes with the strongest evidence base include: Triple P, Incredible Years® and Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). The needs of New Zealand families/whānau are diverse, multi-dimensional and may vary over time. The variety of programmes on offer allow parents to make choices regarding their particular needs at a particular time.
With regard to The Incredible Years® programme, the particular components offered include –
- A wealth of research evidence supporting its effectiveness worldwide, see http://188.8.131.52/research-library/.
- The programme has been endorsed by the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Education as a highly effective evidence-based parenting intervention in New Zealand.
- A range of programmes targeted specifically to different age ranges
- The programme is designed to promote emotional and social competence, and to prevent, reduce, and treat aggression and emotional difficulties in young children 0 to 12 years old
- A strong focus on relationship-building and strengthening of the attachments between parents and their children, prior to the teaching of any specific parenting strategies
- The programme caters to a range of learning styles and capabilities, including discussion, DVD modeling and practice opportunities
- The programme operates from a collaborative, strength-based model which highlights and builds on parents existing skills, while providing opportunities to share and learn within a safe and supportive group environment.
The Incredible Years® is a practical parenting programme which addresses every-day family situations, concerns, challenges and problem-solving in a supportive group environment. Parents are seen as the experts in their own children and are provided with opportunities to explore, with the support of trained group leaders, possible solutions to the challenges they are facing. Groups involve weekly sessions of 2 to 2 ½ hours. The programme runs for 14 - 20 sessions and covers the following topics
- Special time/play
- Social & emotional coaching
- Using praise and compliments
- Motivating children through rewards
- Effective limit setting
- Handling misbehaviour
- Ignoring inappropriate behaviour
- Time out to cool down
- Natural and logical consequences
- Problem solving
You will have an opportunity to share your experiences with other parents facing similar challenges with their children. You will explore new ideas for parenting your children, and you will have an opportunity to practice new parenting ideas in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Parents who complete the programme generally experience improved relationships with their children, less stress, improved mental health and fewer problem behaviours in their children.
Parents attending this programme report very positive benefits for themselves and their families. Some comments from parents have included -
“Praise works rather than negative attention.”
“I learnt to control my temper.”
“I reckon my anger’s gone … I kicked it to the curb.”
“My girl’s smiling all the time now and so am I.”
“My Mum’s even copying me now in the way she talks to her moko.”
The programme encourages parents to bring along a support person or whānau member to weekly sessions. Please speak with your group leaders about guidelines.
The focus of the parent programme is to provide you with an opportunity to share with other parents and learn new skills in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Generally, parents make arrangements for their children to be cared for elsewhere while they attend so that they can fully participate in the learning of new skills. However many groups do include children (such as marae-based groups), so please discuss your needs with your group leaders before the beginning of the programme.
The Incredible Years® series of parent programmes cover the following age ranges –
Parent and Baby Programme 0 - 1 year
Toddler Programme 1 - 3 years
Preschool programme 3 - 6 years
School-age programme 6 – 12 years
Talk to your group leaders to confirm which programme they are using and which is most appropriate for your family.
There are a range of government and community organisations currently offering The Incredible Years® programme throughout New Zealand. For information on groups operating in your area, we suggest you contact your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinic, your GP or the local office of the Ministry of Education.
- Go to http://incredibleyearsnz.co.nz/user/register.
- Fill in the details and complete all mandatory fields. If you are a professional, please select 'Professional' as your audience type.
- Answer the Captcha question.
- Click 'Create new account' to submit your details.
- When you click ‘Create new account' you will be sent an email to confirm your email address. Click the link in the email and then you will be asked to create a password for your account.