Problem of the Effectiveness of Parental Assistance to Children in Situations of Educational Difficulties From the Perspectives of the Reflection-Activity Approach and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy



The article considers the subject of effectiveness of parental assistance to children in challenging situations from the practical and theoretical perspectives. The conditions and criteria of psychological assistance effectiveness represent a link between these perspectives. Proceeding from the fact that development is the child’s main life context, the subject of assistance effectiveness is viewed through the lens of its relation to development. The authors word and provide the rationale for an assumption that effective assistance implies facilitation of development. Due to a conceptual closeness of cultural-historical psychology (as a developmental theory) and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) as a practice of promoting cognitive development, the criteria for the effectiveness of assistance contributing to the child’s development are singled out and compared. A taxonomy of modes in which parents provide assistance to their children in challenging situations in terms of their effectiveness is viewed from the perspective of the reflection-activity approach (RAA) and CBT. The article presents the results of an empirical study of the parental assistance modes in the context of helping their children overcome learning difficulties in a sample of 100 parents of primary school students. The study relied on unique methodology. The results showed that, according to the effectiveness criteria developed, the overwhelming majority of the parents (94.5%) presented with assistance modes that did not contribute to the children’s development, i.e. these modes were ineffective. The issue of specific culture of rendering assistance with learning difficulties is discussed and it is inferred that there is a need to engage parents in practical psychological work to restructure their assistance modes by means of RAA and CBT.

General Information

Keywords: cultural-historical psychology, zone of proximal development, multi-dimentional model of the zone of proximal development, reflection-activity approach, educational difficulties, psychological assistance, subjectness position, reflection, parental help, conditions of effective assistance, cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Journal rubric: Empirical Researches

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Zaretsky V.K., Ageeva A.A. Problem of the Effectiveness of Parental Assistance to Children in Situations of Educational Difficulties From the Perspectives of the Reflection-Activity Approach and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2021. Vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 159–179. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2021290310. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Victor K. Zaretsky, PhD in Psychology, Professor, Chair of Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Faculty of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Antonina A. Ageeva, Lecturer, Department of Primary Education, Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State Regional University (MSOU), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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