Setting the Stage: Exploring the Role of Family Therapy

Dishita K -

Hello Everyone!

    Since I was unable to attend my internship in person last week, I will be discussing the background information that is relevant to the subject of my project. Essentially, conduct, impulsive, and disruptive disorders are within the category of behavioral health difficulties.

According to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “Disruptive behavior disorders are characterized by problems in the self-control of emotions and behavior, which interfere with a child’s ability to function at home and school” (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2022). CDC states conduct disorder diagnosis to be, “when children show an ongoing pattern of aggression toward others, and serious violations of rules and social norms at home, in school, and with peers” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023). According to the Cleveland Clinic, Impulse Disorder is “a group of behavioral conditions that involve an inability to control impulses and behaviors, like angry outbursts and destroying property”(Cleveland Clinic, 2023). It is also important to note the significance of providing accurate treatment paths tailored to the needs of children with behavioral health issues. For example, Between 2016-2019, the estimate for a diagnosis of behavioral problems in children was 8.9% or approximately 5.5 million children (Data and Statistics on Children’s Mental Health | CDC, 2022). Since then there has been an increase; for example from 2019 to 2020 there was a 21% increase in children diagnosed with behavioral health issues (Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), 2022). 

 My previous research has focused primarily on the impacts of family therapy in general since I think studying this topic is important to see what kinds of scenarios it works best in. The advantages of parent-child treatment for behavioral health concerns have been discussed in a number of articles.  In a study conducted in 2006, where multiple variables were studied in 49 youth treatment cases, it was found that the parents’ willingness to participate and their actual participation in therapy leads to positive treatment outcomes (Karver et al., 2005). This is possibly because of the significant impact parents have on children’s lives (Karver et al., 2005). Another study conducted in 2010, which compared the outcomes of individual therapy versus combined/family therapy in 48 cases, suggested that there are more benefits for family therapy than individual therapy (Dowell & Ogles, 2010). In an evaluation done on the claims that parent intervention is beneficial, it is stated that “there are two important dimensions which should be considered in defining parent involvement in early intervention programs. The first is the type of activities in which parents are engaged or the types of resources and assistance which are offered to parents and families as a function of parent involvement. A second dimension is the attitude and context in which those activities are presented” (White, Taylor & Moss, 1992).  Some argue that family therapy may also cause problems instead of solving them. For example, “Therapy tends to bring up difficult emotions to the surface. This space of vulnerability can be overwhelming and intense. It may make members feel emotionally drained and tired, if they don’t have a supportive structure” (Optimist Minds, 2023). Another argument that might be presented against family therapy is that “Family issues can initially be highlighted through therapy making problems more apparent” (Optimist Minds, 2023). Although these statements may be valid to an extent, it is important to take into consideration that the goal of family therapy is to resolve such issues, learn to communicate in a more efficient manner, foster empathetic understanding, and transition in a pleasant way (Optimist Minds, 2023). I hope this information clears up any confusion on my subject for you all.


Thank you,

   Dishita Kolla

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    Brittany Holtzman
    Hi Dishita! Great breakdown of the different types of behavioral health issues that you are exploring. Do you know which types of behavioral health issues the children at your site are experiencing? - Mrs. Holtzman

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