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  • Writer's pictureAndy Anderson

"The Power of Parental Involvement in Supporting Depressed Youth"

Updated: Mar 13

Parent involvement can effectively help depressed youth, as parents can play a critical role in their child's recovery (Asarnow et al., 2019; Wein, Ph.D., 2018). Jones & Prinz listed some ways in which parents can be involved in their child's therapy (2005b):

1. Initial Assessment: The therapist will initially want to assess the child's developmental and behavioral history. This is often done by having parents fill out questionnaires or through parent interviews. Parental involvement in this stage is crucial, as parents can provide valuable information that may help the therapist understand the child's behavior better.

2. Active Participation: Depending on the type of therapy, parents may be asked to participate actively in the therapy sessions. This could involve attending sessions with their child, practicing new skills at home, and reinforcing progress made in therapy.

3. Communication with the Therapist: Parents can communicate with the therapist regularly to discuss the child's progress, concerns, and any changes in their behavior. This can help the therapist adjust the treatment plan as needed.

4. Providing Support: Parents can also support their child outside therapy sessions. This may include providing a safe and structured environment, engaging in positive activities, and promoting positive behavior.

5. Parent Training: Parents may benefit from education on parenting strategies and techniques that can help support their child's progress in therapy. This can include learning about communication skills, positive reinforcement, and setting realistic expectations for their child's behavior (Tompson et al., 2017; Barkley & Benton, 2013; Barkley & Robin, 2013; Forgatch et al., 2017).

Parent participation in their child's therapy can be essential to a child's recovery. It can help parents better understand their child's behavior, reduce household stress, improve their child’s social skills, and reduce parental anxiety or depression.



Asarnow, J. R., Tompson, M. C., Klomhaus, A. M., Babeva, K., Langer, D. A., & Sugar, C. A.

(2020). Randomized controlled trial of family-focused treatment for child depression compared to individual psychotherapy: one-year outcomes. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 61(6), 662–671.

Barkley, R. A., & Benton, C. M. (2013). Your defiant child: Eight steps to better behavior. Guilford


Barkley, R. A., & Benton, C. M. (2013). Your defiant child: Eight steps to better behavior. Guilford Press.

Forgatch, M. S., Patterson, G. R., & Friend, T. (2017). Raising cooperative kids: Proven practices for a connected, happy family. Red Wheel/Weiser.

Jones, T. L., & Prinz, R. J. (2005). Potential roles of parental self-efficacy in parent and child

adjustment: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 25(3), 341–363.

Kazdin, A. E. (2008). Parent management training: Treatment for oppositional, aggressive, and antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Oxford University Press.

Tompson, M. C., Langer, D. A., Sugar, C. A., & Asarnow, J. R. (2017). A Randomized Clinical

Trial Comparing Family-Focused Treatment and Individual Supportive Therapy for Depression in Childhood and Early Adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 56(6), 515–523.

Wein, Ph.D., H. (Ed.). (2018, July 9). Treatment for depression in young children. National

Institutes of Health (NIH).

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