MSU Psychology Clinic offering behavioral intervention for preschoolers

Under the guidance of Mississippi State Assistant Professor Torri M. Jones, left, graduate clinician Janet W. Kwan and postdoctoral fellow and mid-level clinical supervisor Christopher W. Drapeau are among those at Mississippi State’s Psychology Clinic who are administering brief behavioral intervention services for children age 2 to 6 years old. (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s Psychology Clinic is offering a Brief Behavioral Intervention program for children ages 2 to 6 years in Golden Triangle communities.

The new services will provide families with basic, effective strategies for positively addressing and reducing problem behaviors in preschoolers, such as frequent tantrums or whining.

Assistance also is available for children who are experiencing difficulty following instructions or parents who are struggling through the morning routine.

“We also can address problems relating to toileting and sleep, which are common areas of concern for parents with small ones in the 2 to 6 year age range,” said clinic supervisor and licensed clinical psychologist Torri M. Jones, an MSU assistant professor of psychology.

Drawing upon the tenets of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, the research-driven program offered through MSU’s Psychology Clinic consists of six one-hour sessions for parents or caregivers and their children. The clinic is located at 70 Morgan Ave. on the Starkville campus.

At the start of the first session, a trained clinician will interview the parent/caregiver to assess his or her family’s needs. Based on that initial assessment, the clinician will provide and demonstrate therapy strategies that can be implemented at home.

All sessions will be conducted by MSU graduate-level clinicians, who will receive live supervision and real-time feedback from a doctoral-level clinician or licensed psychologist.

“The live intervention that takes place during the sessions is what makes the brief behavioral intervention clinic unique,” Jones said.

The per-session cost is $10, and Jones said a sliding-scale fee is available for families who qualify.

“Mississippi State is a wonderful place for us to offer these services to the community,” Jones said. “We want to reach as many people as we can, so we are more than happy to work with families on the cost of the sessions.”

While it is normal for small children to exhibit disruptive behavior, Jones said early intervention is key to reducing problem behaviors. It also has been shown to reduce parenting stress, she added.

“Collecting information from families during the first session gives us a baseline, so we can see how treatment has helped reduce those problem behaviors,” Jones said. “We encourage families to check back with us after six months, so we can maintain contact and provide any additional support they may need. We want to make sure changes are positive and lasting.”

MSU applied psychology/clinical psychology doctoral students Brittany A. Kinman of Gulfport and Janet W. Kwan of Glendora, California, said they appreciate the clinic’s supportive environment, which enables them to conduct thorough assessments and treatments that train them to be well-rounded clinicians.

“Getting to work with preschoolers and their families while having a team of clinicians available to provide live supervision has been a really interesting and helpful experience. It’s nice for us to be able to provide the community with this type of service,” said Kwan. She and Kinman both are MSU psychology master’s graduates.

Kinman said tailoring assessments and treatments to each child can play a key role in successfully alleviating behavior issues. An improvement in the parent-child relationship also could result from the intervention, she added.

“Each child is different, and parents and caregivers may realize they are having problems communicating effectively with their children, but they may not know what to do,” Kinman said. “We are able to provide them with a toolbelt of skills they can use when problems arise, and that can help make a huge impact on their lives.”

For more information about MSU’s Department of Psychology, visit; the Psychology Clinic and its services at

Jones may be contacted at 662-325-3202 or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at