Family Therapy

Family therapy can be helpful in changing family members' views of a patient's physical impairment and helplessness. As they cease to see the somatiz-ing patient as permanently or severely ill, parents and siblings may stop reinforcing illness behavior. In addition, important family stressors or dysfunctional family dynamics that are relevant in terms of the etiology of the child's symptoms may be revealed. In some cases of conversion disorder, strategic family therapy centered on symptoms such as pseudoseizures may improve symptom reporting (Griffith et al. 1989). Family therapy is designed not only to help the family support healthy functional behaviors and reduce support for pain behaviors but also to address family conflicts that may be causing stress for the child or interfering with efforts to cope with pain.

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