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Why Am I In Family Therapy?
Carol E. Watkins, MD
Northern County Psychiatric Associates

Click here for more articles, games and book reviews for children and adolescents interested in understanding mental health issues.


Your older sister just slammed the door and said that she is leaving to spend the weekend with her boyfriend. Your parents blame each other for your sister’s problems. They also argue about money. When they yell, you want to cover your ears and disappear into the floor. You worry about your parents and sister all day at school and it is beginning to affect your grades.

Oddly enough, YOU are the one who gets noticed. Your teacher sees your falling grades. She is concerned that you look worried and you sleep during class. The teacher and guidance counselor call in your parents and recommend that you see a therapist. Wait a minute!

Your parents tell you to “open up” to this lady you never met before. The therapist talks to you, and then the whole story spills out. It’s a relief to tell someone all the things you kept inside. She asks your permission to discuss your worries with your parents. You are afraid that your parents and sister will be mad because you spilled the beans about private family matters. The therapist reminds you that your parents gave you permission to talk to her about anything at all. So it’s O.K.

She meets with your parents. They talk about their arguments with each other and with your sister. The next week, the therapist sits down with you and your parents. Your sister is refusing to come. The therapist helps you tell your parents how the yelling frightens you. You all talk about how your family can make you feel safer. In the second part of the session, the therapist asks you to sit in the waiting room while she talks to your parents. She tells you that your parents will deal with some husband and wife issues privately. That’s a relief.

After a while, your sister starts coming to sessions with the rest of the family. Sometimes, she yells and curses in the sessions. Now that you know that the family is working on the problems, it is easier to listen to her anger. One week, you stay home while your sister brings her boyfriend in to talk with your parents.

Your grades improve and you don’t worry about your family all day. Things aren’t perfect—your parents still have disagreements, and your sister hasn’t broken up with her boyfriend. Now nobody yells. You can sit down together at home and talk out the problems.


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Awards For Our Site

 Northern County Psychiatric Associates 

Our practice has experience in the treatment of Attention Deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), Depression, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and other psychiatric conditions. We are located in Northern Baltimore County and serve the Baltimore County, Carroll County and Harford County areas in Maryland. Since we are near the Pennsylvania border, we also serve the York County area.   Our services include psychotherapy, psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and family therapy. We treat children, adults, and the elderly.

We also maintain a list of informative web sites on mental health topics, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Parenting and Support Groups.

Awards for  the NCPA site

Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Lutherville and Monkton
Baltimore County, Maryland
Phone: 410-329-2028
Web Site 

Copyright 2000

Carol E. Watkins, M.D.
Glenn Brynes, Ph.D., M.D.


Copyright 2006  Northern County Psychiatric Associates
Last modified: October 06, 2007

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