Family therapy and depression in children and teens

Sometimes, depression in children and teens may be triggered by or result in conflict within the family. Family conflict can trigger or worsen depression symptoms, and family therapy aimed at correcting these issues can improve the outcome. But this type of counseling used alone has not been proven effective for treatment of depression in children and teens. Family therapy may be helpful when added to other types of counseling (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy) and medicines (such as antidepressants).

Family therapy can be beneficial in maintaining good relationships within the family while dealing with the pressures of depression. The entire family will be able to express their concerns and fears regarding how depression is affecting their loved one and the family dynamics. They will be able to obtain support for their own frustrations of helping the person get through depression. Also, they will develop new ways of getting along as a family.

Family therapy should be conducted by a qualified counselor who has had specific training in treating families. Health professionals with training in treating families include a:

  • Child and adolescent psychiatrist.
  • Family therapist.
  • Social worker.

Last Updated: April 16, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry

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