The Incredible Years programme – Small Group Dinosaur

Pojat leikkimässä altaassa


Delivery of the intervention: Group-based

Aim of the intervention: The aim of the intervention is to increase the child’s skills to identify emotions. The intervention strengthens the child’ ability to discuss and regulate emotions and increases social skills.

Description of the intervention: The Small Group Dinosaur is a structured group-based intervention for children who have behavioral problems and disorders. The framework for the intervention is provided by the attachment relationship and social learning theories, behavioral and solution-focused therapies and the stress management theory. The children’s groups gather weekly for 18-20 weeks. Peer groups for parents are organized simultaneously with the children’s groups (6 children per group). The participants practice interactive exercises in the groups and the children are given homework that they can do together with their parents. The groups are instructed by a social and healthcare or education professional who has received the Small Group Dinosaur training.

Availability of the intervention in Finland: Social and healthcare or education professional can receive a training as a Small Group Dinosaur instructor. In Finland, the trainings are organized by the Research Center for Child Psychiatry at the University of Turku. The intervention is a part of the Incredible Years method family. The incredible Years was originally developed  in the US. In Finland, the intervention has been mosty applied by the education and social sectors in the capital region and in the special healthcare services as a cooperation of the child psychiatry and family health clinics in Helsinki.

Research- and evidence-based efficacy of the intervention: The effectiveness of the intervention has been studied in RCT-studies in the US (Webtster-Stratton & Hammond 1997; Webster-Stratton et al. 2004) and in Norway (Larsson et al. 2009). Those studies indicated that the Small Group Dinosaur has positive effects on reducing behavioral problems and increasing social behavior as well as problem-solving skills among 4- to 9-year-old children as compared to the control group. There is satisfactory research-based evidence for the effectiveness of the intervention.


  • Larsson B., Fossum S., Clifford G., Drugli MB., Handegård BH. & Morch W-T. (2009). Treatment of oppositional defiant and conduct problems in young Norwegian children. Results of randomized controlled trial. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 18, 42–52.
  • Webster-Stratton, C. & Hammond M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 65, 93–109.
  • Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, J. & Hammond, M. (2004). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: Intervention outcomes for parent, child, and teacher training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 33, 105–124.