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Family Therapy for Depression in Children

Topic Overview

Sometimes depression in children and teens may be triggered by or result in conflict within the family. Family conflict can trigger depression symptoms or make them worse. And family therapy aimed at correcting these issues can improve the outcome. But this type of counseling used alone has not been proved effective for treating 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 get support for their own frustrations of trying to help the person get through depression. Also, they will learn 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.
  • Child and adolescent psychologist.
  • Family therapist.
  • Social worker.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer David A. Axelson, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Last Revised May 3, 2013

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