Skip to content

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Family Therapy Can Help Teens

Parental Involvement in Kids' Therapy Helps in Treatment of Conduct Disorders and Drug Abuse

Drug Abuse

Family therapy helps kids quit using drugs, stay in drug treatment, and avoid related problems like truancy, says Josephson, citing "at least 12-14 well-designed studies."

Parents who strongly show disapproval of illegal drug use also helps, he notes. "This is what these public information announcements in the last few years of parents as the 'antidrug' are about," says Josephson.

Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders

Family therapy for kids with depression and anxiety has been studied for a shorter time, but results look promising so far, write the researchers. Several new studies suggest that family treatment or treatment augmented with family therapy is effective for depression and anxiety, they write.

Studies about eating disorders have shown patients successfully gain needed weight when family therapy is part of the program, though family conflicts sometimes increase.

"The nonverbal behavior organizing around food now becomes verbal. But that's essentially progress, although families sometimes have trouble believing it," says Josephson.

Dealing With Attention Problems

Family therapy doesn't relieve the core symptoms of kids' with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But it can help families understand and handle the condition better, according to the report.

Josephson says while interviewing a family, he once heard a 6-year-old boy tell his mom to shut up. "I looked at [the parents] and said, 'Am I the only one that's got a problem with this?' They looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Well, you know, he has attention deficit disorder.' I took the time to educate them that in fact I think he did [have ADD], but those behaviors -- in this case, disrespect ... and he was running the family, as you might guess -- was not necessarily accounted for by this central nervous system disorder."

Parents interested in family therapy should first get their child's condition diagnosed by a psychiatrist or well-trained psychologist, and kids' treatment may also require medication, notes Josephson.

1|2

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow