The role of parents in child psychotherapy

Written by: Michel Socoró Carrié
Edited by: Top Doctors®

When parents make the decision to consult a specialist about the difficulties and symptoms of their child, there has usually been a first disappointment in the expectations placed on them (what we could not be and that we project in our children). Sometimes parents have enough capacity to withstand this first frustration, others will need to take into account this wound to their self-esteem, since it will depend on collaboration and participation in the treatment, an essential requirement for the cure of the patient, (Therapeutic Alliance of parents, Badoni, 2002).

Many parents blame themselves when they diagnose some type of psychological disorder in their children , think about what they have done wrong or feel bad parents. When this feeling is very strong, this will have an adverse effect on the cure and may even cause the treatment to be interrupted.. Parents can feel easily judged by the professional and therefore will tend to avoid any consideration regarding their participation or responsibility in the child's difficulties.. In the interviews with the parents, this damaged, affected parental identity will be taken into account in order to articulate it in a pertinent way to the family dysfunction, seeking the sense of discomfort of each one of the parents, favoring the own understanding of the fair level of participation and responsibility in the symptom or discomfort of your child .

Joint work: parents and children

Depending on the child's age and the type of symptomatology, work with parents will be more necessary, sometimes in joint child / parent sessions, sometimes in individual sessions with parents to conduct a retrospective investigation of the child's development in depth , to deal with specific aspects of the relationship of one of the parents, etc ... Other times the difficulty of the parents is that throughout the treatment, the improvement of the child puts in question and reveals the own lack-conflicts of the parents. parents, putting in crisis the parental couple, or any of its components. Allowing the differentiated and separated evolution of your child will involve an effort to reorganize the family dynamics and to deal with the dysfunctional aspects that sustained the symptom. Excessive attention to the symptom or discomfort of the child often results in inattention in the couple's relationship, with the consequent deterioration of the parental abilities at play , in a spiral of feedback.

Progenitor-child connection

In some way, the maternal function and the paternal function are inaugurated with the desire of a son, whether or not he is conscious. This desire is part of the personality structure, that is, it connects with the most childlike part of our being. Being a parent or being a mother will therefore require the connection with the child that we were, with our most intimate needs and desires, and the game of identifications with the real son. For this, the history of the couple will be taken into consideration, as well as the personal histories of each of the parents, with their myths and beliefs.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
 Michel Socoró Carrié

By Michel Socoró Carrié

Specialist in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy with a long career. He is an expert in the psychological treatment of situations of abuse and neglect and a leader in child and Adolescent Psychology.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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