Parents Have a Place in Child Psychotherapy

Family-linked treatments can fight a wide range of troubles, review finds

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THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Family therapy, where parents are included in treatment sessions, is an effective therapy for conduct disorders and substance abuse in children and teens, according to a review examining 10 years worth of research.

The review authors also concluded that family therapy helps reduce behavior problems associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and also shows promise in treating anxiety and depression.

"There are some myths about family therapy, and one of them is that it's not effective," study co-author Dr. Allan Josephson, chief executive officer of the Bingham Child Guidance Center in Louisville, Ky., said in a prepared statement.

"However, the empirical support for its success has been growing. This paper documents that counseling and working with families is not only an intuitively good idea -- there's scientific evidence for its effectiveness in specific conditions," Josephson said.

The findings will be published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

"Those involved with the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders (in children) have been reluctant to discuss family issues in depth. They're afraid to blame the family, and at times, it seems pharmacology may have replaced working with the family. But the family has not gone away, and its influence remains as powerful as ever," Josephson said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about family communication.

SOURCE: American Medical Association, news release, Aug. 11, 2005

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