What is the best way to help children cope with behavioural and emotional problems? This question has been a focus of concern — to children and the adults who care for them — across many centuries and in cultures around the world. In this article we examine the current state of efforts to help children by means of an array of non-medical interventions designed to alleviate psychological distress, reduce maladaptive behaviour, and/or increase adaptive behaviour. We refer to these interventions, collectively, as ‘psychotherapy’. In the article, we will note some accomplishments of the effort to develop effective interventions through clinical research. Then we will note some concerns about these efforts, and suggest ways to address the concerns through an alternate model of intervention development and testing.