The Role of Family in Adolescent Therapy

The Role of Family in Adolescent Therapy

Adolescents in Therapy
Mental health issues often begin during adolescence due to biological changes, hormonal
fluctuations, academic and social pressures, sleep deprivation, and a lack of awareness
about their identity and mental health. During this time, teenagers experience complex
emotions for the first time but lack the life skills and brain development to manage these
feelings effectively, making this period a stressful and confusing time.

Adolescents typically desire autonomy and independence, seeking to navigate these
challenges on their own. Therapy aims to empower them to find answers and figure out
their needs independently, as well as encouraging them to express these insights to their
family members in a healthy way so parents can facilitate the most effective support.


Psychologists play a role in helping adolescents understand they are not alone with their
problems and that their difficulties can be resolved. When adolescents are brought to
therapy by their parents, they can sometimes perceive the psychologist as being aligned
with their parents, which can influence their openness and hinder the therapeutic process.
Therefore, fostering confidentiality is vital for building trust, encouraging openness, and
ensuring honesty during therapy. This trust enables adolescents to seek help more readily in
the future and fosters a sense of responsibility and empowerment. It is important to balance
the young person’s right to confidentiality with the need for information sharing with
parents when necessary to ensure their safety.


Involving Family in Therapy
Parents play a critical role in a young person’s development and are often keen to
understand how therapy is progressing and how they can help. Their involvement can
include gaining a deeper understanding of how environmental factors impact their child’s
mental health, learning supportive strategies to reinforce outside therapy, improving
communication at home, and learning ways to respond to their teenager to best support
their mental health. Active participation from family members during therapy can foster a
sense of safety and trust at home.

Stephanie Di Giovanni