Psychology, Professional

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kurt Gehlert, Consuelo Cavalieri


Child and adolescent mental health difficulties impact parents and family members emotionally, socially, and financially. Most of the current research in child and adolescent psychology focuses on treatment outcomes, with few studies including the perspective of parents. This study sought to capture the unique experiences and perceptions of parents with a child who has completed psychotherapy. A qualitative method was used to explore the parents’ perceptions of their experiences. This study included 10 participants. The consensual qualitative research approach was used to analyze the data resulting in six categories: treatment variables, influences on the level of parent involvement, pre-treatment parent expectations, parent-therapist relationship, perceived therapy outcomes for child, and perceived therapy outcomes for family. Treatment variables included length of treatment and diagnosis. Influences on the level of parent involvement included active involvement, passive involvement, reason for level of involvement, and barriers to involvement. Pre-treatment parent expectations factors included preparation, anxiety, negative perceptions, and positive perceptions. Parent-therapist relationship included therapist traits, parent traits, helpful interventions for rapport building, unhelpful interventions for rapport building, and relationship with child’s therapist. Perceived therapy outcomes for child included positive outcomes and negative outcomes. Perceived therapy outcomes for family included positive outcomes and negative outcomes. Overall, parents reported that having a positive parent-therapist relationship contributed to reduced anxiety, increased comfort with the therapist and therapy process, more positive outcomes for their child, and more positive outcomes for their family. These results are beneficial as to how clinicians can prepare parents for their child’s psychotherapy, support the parent-therapist alliance, and how they can reduce barriers to children’s mental health services.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.