Facilitating Parents' Agency in Child and Adolescent Mental Health: Helplessness to Hope

This book explores parents’ experiences of their child’s treatment in an adolescent mental health services in Sydney, Australia. It represents the incisive narratives of parents of a chronically struggling child. Such parent groups are under-consulted in the field, and yet their experiences provide clinicians with effective ways to engage them as a resource for the child’s recovery. The author draws on her research and vast experience in the field to map out how program managers and clinicians can involve parents as a valued part of the child’s treatment. Readers are taken on a very personal journey with parents through their help-seeking efforts, their hopes for treatment, their varied experiences of involvement and the impact of these experience six months following their children’s treatment.


Dr Jenny Brown is Director Emeritus at the Family Systems Institute and founder and Director of the Family Systems Practice and Parent Hope Project in Sydney, Australia. Her academic qualifications are from the University of Sydney (medical social work prize) and Columbia University (Deans award). Her PhD research (Social Science UNSW) explored parents’ experience of their child’s mental health treatment, forming this book’s basis. She is a clinical member and supervisor for the Australian Association of Family Therapy and, in 2018, received the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANJFT) award for distinguished contribution to family therapy in Australia. In 2022, she received the annual research award from the Bowen Centre for the Study of the Family in Washington DC. As well as publishing several articles in peer-reviewed journals about child and family mental health, she has written and edited books, including Growing Yourself Up (2012).

“This book makes a truly important contribution to the literature on working with troubled children and their families. Dr Brown identifies a relatively simple model that leads to symptom improvement in children and can be exported to multiple clinical contexts. Thus, Dr Brown’s findings have impressive clinical relevance. This book crystalises her findings so that clinicians across the child and family sector can benefit from her efforts. I can endorse this book without reservation.”
Louise Bordeaux Silverstein, PhD
Professor Emerita, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University, Bronx, NY.

“Dr Brown’s research makes a crucial contribution to the literature on mental illness in children by shedding light on the impacts our clinical efforts have on parents and their parenting capacity. It obligates us to review our academic programs, treatment pathways, and clinical interventions to ensure that the onus of change is taken off the shoulders of already impaired children, away from professionals whose influence is time-limited, and restored to the parents inherently charged with this task.”
Dr Holly McGovern
Clinical Psychologist, Head of Family Therapy, Kids & Co Clinical Psychology, Sydney, Australia.

Buy This Book

ISBN: 1-5275-1748-9

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-1748-6

Release Date: 29th June 2023

Pages: 191

Price: £59.99

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ISBN: 1-0364-0404-8

ISBN13: 978-1-0364-0404-8

Release Date: 9th April 2024

Pages: 191

Price: £29.99

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