Parenting with a Plan

Saginaw County CMHA is one of the top PMTO organizations.  The spring 2016 edition of their Piece of Mind newsletter included this wonderful article describing the PMTO and PTC programs they offer.

Parenting with a Plan

SCCMHA offers Evidence-Based Parent Management Training to

Develop Strong Relationships and Reunify Families in the Community


The Hollywood version of therapy for parents and children usually includes the “professional” nodding and taking notes as parents and children sit on an oversized couch and try to explain their family dynamic. The settings and outcomes vary, but the almost constant message is that the professional knows best and the patients must follow their expert analysis. It’s a message with good intensions, but a message that doesn’t reflect the real world. Today, mental health care still involves professionals and analysis, but care is much more heavily influenced by patients’ needs and opinions. It’s a model that emphasizes the patient’s role in the outcome of their care, and a model that Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) embraces in all that we do.


One such intervention that SCCMHA is proud to provide is Parent Management Training-Oregon (PMTO). PMTO is an evidence-based intervention that believes that parents and caregivers are the best teachers for their child. The PMTO therapist acts as an advisor to the parent, providing tools to enhance their parenting skills. What separates PMTO from other types of therapy interventions though, is that role-play is utilized to help parents practice the skills they will use in the home. The PMTO therapist pretends to be the acting out child and sets up the parent for success by pre-teaching a certain set of skills to use in the home. Positive encouragement also plays a big role in PMTO – therapists point out strengths they see in the parent that enhances self-confidence, which in turn helps the parent focus on the strengths of their child. This action causes the child to seek out behaviors that are positive because their parent has noticed, and offered them positive praise.


In addition to offering PMTO on an individual basis, SCCMHA has also expanded to providing the group model of this intervention called Parenting Through Change (PTC).  PTC teaches the same components of PMTO, but in a larger group setting that runs for 10 weeks. In 2016, SCCMHA was chosen as one of the test sites for a new version of PTC that focuses on families going through reunification with children that have been removed from the home for various reasons. PTC-R provides the same tools and encouragement as PTC, but is more focused on getting children back into their natural homes and learning new tools to enhance the relationship between the parent and child.


“We have been encouraged by the families that have gone through this process and the success they have had,” said Matt Linkowski, who serves as Saginaw’s regional coordinator of PMTO. “Parents report a better sense of ‘what to do’ when situations arise in the home, that in the past, could have turned out negative. Parents that go through this intervention also say that they have a better handle on their own emotional regulation and are able to focus more on the strengths of their children.”


Currently SCCMHA has two certified PMTO therapists and three more going through training. All combined, this dynamic intervention has been provided to over 40 families in Saginaw County. 

Return to News Archive | Contact Us