When a young person needs mental health or behavioral therapy, it goes without saying that parents will provide valuable contributions to the therapeutic process. However, the parents’ role in therapy is more significant than simply telling the therapist what has happened or making sure the adolescent attends the therapy sessions. Involving parents in therapy is vital for ensuring the adolescent’s ability to bring the therapeutic work into the “real” world. How can parents participate effectively in their child’s therapy? What are the benefits of a family therapy program? Learning as much as you can about these questions can make a big difference in your teenager’s therapeutic progress.
Some Helpful Strategies for Effective Parental Participation in Therapy
It can be challenging to know how involved to be or whether or not you are helping when your child goes to therapy. In a family therapy program, everyone is working together – adults, young people, and therapists – to improve communication and provide a safe environment for emotions to be expressed and processed. Here are some helpful strategies to help you be an effective parental participant:
- Make a list of points and questions that you have for the therapist, especially before a first session.
- Disagreeing with things the therapist says is okay. Of course, you want to keep an open mind. However, if you think something won’t work well for your family, or the therapist says something that doesn’t sit right with you, it is alright to say that.
- Discuss your goals for family therapy with your partner, with your children, and with the therapist. The more everyone can get on the same page, the more effective therapy sessions can be.
- Practice active listening. Come to therapy ready to listen, ask questions, and respond thoughtfully. Family therapy is a space where everyone can safely express their feelings and opinions.
- Model honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility for your teenager. Always be honest and open with the therapist, ready to admit when you are wrong and take responsibility for your own actions. It is always easier to communicate with one another when everyone is being honest and open.
What Are the Benefits of Parental Involvement in Therapy?
Studies have shown that adolescent therapy is most effective when parents are involved in the process. Even though the therapeutic process may have been initiated due to the adolescent’s mental health or behavior, in order to be fully effective, the whole family needs to pitch in and participate. Some of the benefits of being involved in your child’s therapy are:
- Providing consistency both in and out of therapy. What happens in therapy is then practiced at home, reinforcing new skills and strategies.
- You might learn something new! Even though you may think that the primary beneficiary of therapy is your child, learning and developing new communication skills can be helpful for everyone.
- Gaining a deeper understanding of what your teenager is going through, as well as the therapy methods being used to treat them, can help you in case you ever need to change therapists. It can also help you be a more effective parent for your child to understand them better.
Imagine by Northpoint Encourages and Facilitates Parental Involvement in Therapy
Our treatment center in Boise, Idaho, offers therapy programs for patients ages 12-17 who are struggling with mental health or behavioral challenges. We believe strongly in parental and family involvement and are committed to helping our patients and their families work towards a healthy, happy future. Reach out to our compassionate and knowledgeable staff members today at 208.487.8260 and let us tell you what we can do to help.