“Who Should Attend Family Therapy?”
Is Family Therapy Right for You?
Katie Pfeiffer, PsyD, Senior Program Manager, Camino a Casa, explains why it’s beneficial for parents and guardians to participate in family programming, and what they can expect.
Katie Pfeiffer: It’s really important to provide parents with psychoeducation on the importance of participating in family programming when their child is in treatment. They don’t always understand, or they believe the therapy process is between the treating clinician and youth.
It’s also important to support parents by providing strategies that are being utilized with their child in treatment. This will help parents understand how to support their youth when symptoms associated with their mental health struggles arise.
During family therapy, the clinician seeks to understand the positive and negative patterns that exist within the family system. Dysfunction can occur when the family gets trapped in a negative cycle of communication, has a history of unresolved hurt or engages in power struggles.
We often tell parents that they cannot control their child’s behavior, but they can control their reaction to it. Sometimes we will see a change in behavior that results from a parent’s response to their child during the therapeutic process. This reiterates the need for parents to be involved in family programming.
Family programming is an important component of the Camino a Casa Program – in fact, parents and guardians are expected to participate in multi parent support and skill building groups as well as weekly family therapy sessions. We require the involvement of the parent/guardian(s) and other family members in the youth’s treatment to support the transfer of skills that will be essential when their child goes home.
Our families participate in family therapy a minimum of once per week, visit with their youth as often as they need, and are invited to participate in our monthly Family Day. Family Day is designed to focus on rebuilding the familial relationships and strengthening their bond. Our family programming is led by our multi-disciplinary team and is customized to meet the specific needs of each family.
Camino a Casa continues to support our families even beyond discharge. Alumni parents and guardians are welcome to continue attending family support and skill building groups, and are welcome to return for a refresher as often as they need.