ABC Intervention | ABC and COVID-19
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ABC and COVID-19

ABC and COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the daily life of families across the globe, increasing the physical, financial, and emotional needs of our most vulnerable parents, children, and communities. In response to the likely increased needs for ABC, and the restrictions and concerns for home visiting due to social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, we have created guidance for meeting with families remotely: TeleABC.


Our evidence that ABC is an effective intervention is limited to in-person implementation. However, there is reason to think that video telehealth could be an effective method of implementing evidence-based interventions (e.g., Gros et al., 20131; Wrape & McGinn, 20182), when taking clinical and ethical considerations into account. This may be especially true for ABC, for which the active ingredient, In the Moment (ITM) commenting, has been identified. If ITM commenting can be done well through a video platform, then it is reasonable to think we should see change in parent behaviors.


We have created protocols for conducting ABC sessions, including live commenting and manual content, through telehealth platforms. Children can express their stress or feelings in confusing ways, such as acting angry or disruptive when feeling confused or upset, or turning or pulling away from a parent who is trying to comfort them. As with in-home ABC, TeleABC helps parents recognize cues for nurturance, even when they are not clear. In typical conditions ABC sessions include conversation about what can make it harder to nurture your distressed child and follow the lead during play, and what kind of circumstances and history make it easier to frighten your infant or toddler. TeleABC includes this outlook as well, with a focus on how the fear, uncertainty, and increased stress can decrease parental resources and increase stress and irritability. TeleABC’s goal is to provide supportive guidance for parents to provide nurturing, sensitive care to young children during these stressful times.


ABC-certified parent coaches and parent coaches in training have access to the TeleABC guidance. If you have interest in learning more about this approach, please contact Dr. Caroline Roben at

Additional Information and Resources


[1] Gros, D.F., Morland, L.A., Greene, C.J., Acierno, R., Strachan, M., Egede, L.E., …& Frueh, B.C. (2013). Delivery of evidence-based psychotherapy via video telehealth. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35, 506-521.

2 Wrape, E.R. & McGinn, M.M. (2019). Clinical and ethical considerations for delivering couple and family therapy via telehealth. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 45, 296-308.