Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Family psychotherapy, Mentally ill parents-Treatment, Families of the mentally ill-Mental health services, Family therapy, Parent, Mental illness, Mandated, Roles, Children of the mentally ill-Mental health services


This study was conducted in order to explore the perspectives of clinicians who work with families in which a parent is affected by mental illness. The relatively small amount of research that has been conducted in this area led the researcher to choose a qualitative exploratory design. Nine clinicians who identified as practitioners of family therapy participated in this study. The clinicians were geographically located in New York City and narratives were gathered during forty-five minute in-person interviews. The questions focused on the following topics: 1.) What are the theoretical frameworks or interventions that clinicians use when working with families with parents affected by mental illness? 2.) How are clinicians affected by a client's mandated status? 3.) How do they define success or challenges with these families? Some of the key findings of this research were: 1.) Family therapy can be effectively provided by clinicians in conjunction with individual therapy; 2) Clients mandated status can have a direct effect on treatment; 3.) Children assumed identifiable roles in families with parents affected by mental illness; 4,) Clinicians do use a variety of theoretical frameworks and interventions; and, 5.) Clinicians confirmed that family therapy can lead to a significant improvement in dynamics of families with a parent affected by mental illness.




iii, 76 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 67-69)