Parent Training and Family Therapy

Parent training and family therapy are used to facilitate acceptance of treatment recommendations, alter family patterns that exacerbate symptoms or maintain disability, instruct parents how to better tolerate distress, and develop behavioral modification plans that support the child's self-management of symptoms and independent functioning. For example, parental attention to the child's pain symptoms, such as by asking the child to rate pain, inadvertently reinforces the child's attentional focus on symptoms by encouraging him or her to scan for somatic cues. Parents need to learn how to acknowledge their child's pain but at the same time encourage the use of distraction and other active coping strategies. They must also learn how to differentiate symptoms that require rest and further medical workup from expected pain episodes (or other symptoms) that are potentially exacerbated by rest and further medical workup. Most parents require practice with these complicated instructions.

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