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What is Parenting Therapy?
Parenting therapy involves a therapist who works with parents to support them as they navigate challenging situations specific to parenting. Therapy for parents also aids parents in recognizing, dealing with, and managing personal issues from the past or present that can influence how they relate to their child. In addition, parenting therapy can occasionally assist parents in maintaining a unified and organized parenting style by helping them improve their communication with one another.
Although it can be categorized as family therapy, parenting therapy has several distinctive features. Parenting counseling, also known as parenting therapy, is simply “help with your child” at its most basic level. This type of treatment is not just brief but may also involve all of your loved ones, including you and your spouse, you and your child, or just you. Each treatment strategy is tailored to the circumstances. Specifically, however, therapy for parents is more concerned with helping you as a parent.
Counseling sessions can give you the support and tools you need to be the best parent you can be, regardless of whether the conflict is between you and your kid(s), stems from family trauma, or is caused by developmental, physical, or mental health problems in you or your child.
Common Reasons People Seek Parenting Counseling
Many factors can make raising a child challenging. Common reasons people seek parent counseling include:1
- Inability to provide dependable care
- History of abuse
- Being a single parent
- Meeting an infant or toddler’s needs
- Maintaining adult relationships
- Financial challenges
- Feeling pressed for time or rushed
- Difficulty planning and scheduling children’s days
- Sleep deprivation
- Marital issues
- Caring for a child with behavioral, physical, or intellectual issues
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
What Happens in Therapy for Parents?
Therapy for parents can be a powerful tool when confronting serious difficulties in connecting with your child or children. Knowing what to anticipate when you meet with a mental health professional in person or online might help you have a better experience.
When families are struggling with the strain of raising children, a counselor who offers sympathetic and practical parental counseling advice can make a significant impact. In addition, parental therapy and acquiring new life skills can often improve disagreements and lessen or even eliminate home stress.2
A therapist for parenting may initially be suggested by your physician or a well-known figure in the community, school, or your place of employment. However, you may also directly seek help. Either way, you’ll meet with a counselor at a scheduled time. They’ll conduct a thorough interview to pinpoint the key problem, better comprehend the issue, and gauge your present condition and behavior.
The counselor can then suggest a range of initiatives, such as:
- Co-parenting counseling
- Couples counseling
- Divorce adjustment therapy
- Anger management
- Substance abuse rehabilitation and counseling
The mental health professional first deals with the parent or parents with the biggest problem. Other family members, such as the kids, may be invited to participate once the parent(s) has responded to the intervention. Support groups are sometimes suggested so you can learn from other parents who have gone through similar issues.3
Throughout parental counseling, you’ll discover your parenting style, whether authoritative, neglectful, permissive, or authoritarian. The therapist aids you in developing a more comprehensive awareness of yourself and your child or children. In addition, they might contribute their understanding of the child’s developmental stage and how it might connect to the conflict occurring. Parenting counseling can thus offer special and beneficial education and life skills to you, your spouse, your kids, and the family.
Furthermore, parenting therapy may include medication, depending on any accompanying mental health disorders. For example, if you are depressed, your therapist may suggest antidepressants.
Things to Consider When Seeking Parenting Therapy
You may be made to relive difficult memories or situations, just like in any counseling. At first, you could feel uneasy or anxious about sharing them. Some individuals might experience depression or panic attacks. Others might be angry or depressed, especially if favorable outcomes take some time to materialize.
When you first begin parenting therapy, you may feel overwhelmed by disagreement. Before successfully using new abilities in interacting with your child or children, you may need to hear recommendations a few times. This is usually followed by spending meaningful time at home reflecting on what you have learned.
It’s vital to remember that because of these circumstances, therapy may not produce effects immediately. So, try not to pressure yourself, your family, or your child to do everything right away. Instead, be patient while you discover new strategies for handling challenging situations.
Do you need a social worker? A psychiatrist? A therapist? A clinical psychologist? Or a combination of all of the above? Each of these counselors has a unique background and offers various services.
For example, licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) handle people’s needs specifically within marriage, relationship, and family systems. To obtain your LMFT and work as a therapist in Tennessee, one must complete their master’s or doctorate in addition to two years of post-degree clinical experience.4 This experience includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice, with 200 hours directly supervised by a Board-approved supervisor.
In addition, a clinical psychologist can perform mental health testing, identify, and create treatment plans while carrying out psychotherapy.
When seeking psychologists for parents, it’s essential to understand their credentials, and it’s okay to ask about their education and experiences. After all, you want to ensure you receive optimal treatment for your specific needs and goals.
Benefits of Therapy for Parenting
Therapy for parents has several advantages for parents and the entire family. The benefits of parenting therapy include:5
- Establishing sound boundaries
- Strengthening communication
- Describing a person’s place in the family
- Enhancing family connections and dynamics
- Supplying coping mechanisms and support for family members
- Tackling unproductive relationships
- Enhancing the family’s capacity for problem-solving
- Valuable instruction on how to interact with your children
- Support during challenging parenting periods
- Secure setting for emotional processing
- Knowledge and access to local resources
- Techniques for improving family functioning
- Secure setting to practice and process controlling emotions
- Different means of communication
- Instruction in verbally communicating feelings
- Feeling more involved in how the family functions
Behavioral Health Resources for Parenting
- National Suicide Prevention Line – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Athena Care’s multiple therapy treatment clinics throughout Tennessee: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., (615) 320-1155
- Center for Young Women’s Health and Young Men’s Health: These websites offer material geared toward parents of teenagers, such as how-to manuals for helping adolescents with eating disorders and depression.
- Balanced Mind Parent Network: This network helps families find the solutions, stability, and support they need when raising kids and teens with mental health issues.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Helpline: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 1-800-560-5767 or (615) 532-6700
- Mental Health America (MHA)
- “Parenting.” GoodTherapy, 2019, www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/parenting.
- Anderson, Jessica. Parent Counseling: Parent-Child Conflict: Win-Win | BetterHelp. 1 Sept. 2022, www.betterhelp.com/advice/parenting/parent-counseling-parent-child-conflict-win-win.
- “What Is Parent Counseling: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results.” DocDoc, 2020, www.docdoc.com/medical-information/procedures/parenting-counseling.
- “Tennessee State Resources.” American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, www.aamft.org/Advocacy/State_Resources/Tennessee.aspx. Accessed 1 July 2022.
- Morales-Brown, Louise. “What Are the Benefits of Family Counseling?” Medical News Today, 28 Apr. 2022, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/family-counseling#benefits.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.