Effects of Psychotherapy on Parental Stress

Effects of Psychotherapy on Parental Stress

Effects of Psychotherapy on Parental Stress

Parental stress is a common and often overwhelming experience that many parents face. It can have detrimental effects on both parents’ well-being and their ability to provide a nurturing environment for their children. Psychotherapy, including various forms of counselling and therapy, has been recognized as an effective intervention to reduce parental stress and improve overall mental health. This case study explores the effects of psychotherapy on parental stress by examining the experiences of a mother, who sought tele-therapy to address her stress-related challenges.

The participant is a mother of 2 children (ages 3 & 6). Her elder child is diagnosed with ADHD. She lives abroad in a small town where she has limited social support and child care services. She noted having moments of extreme frustration and helplessness where she lost her temper and ended up feeling guilty for reacting. Furthermore, she shared that this stress has negatively affected her relationship with her spouse.

Case Study Participant for Parental Stress

  • Age: 35
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Number of Children: 2 (ages 3 and 6)
  • Reason for Seeking Psychotherapy: High levels of parental stress, feeling overwhelmed, and experiencing mood disturbances affecting her relationship with her spouse.

Case Study Design:

This case study employed a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Data was gathered through structured questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, both conducted before and after participation in a 10-week psychotherapy program.

Pre-Intervention Assessment:

1. Quantitative Measures:
  •  Parental Stress Index (PSI): To assess the overall level of parental stress.
  •  Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21): To measure symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. 
2. Qualitative Interviews:
  • Open-ended questions addressing participant’s experiences, triggers of stress, and coping mechanisms.

Psychotherapy Intervention:

She participated in a 10-week psychotherapy program focused on stress reduction and emotional well-being. The therapy sessions included cognitive-behavioural techniques, mindfulness, and emotion-focused strategies.

Post-Intervention Assessment:

1. Quantitative Measures:

PSI and DASS-21 (administered as in the pre-intervention assessment) to measure changes in parental stress, depression, anxiety, and stress levels.

2. Qualitative Interviews:

Post-therapy interviews to explore participant’s experiences during the intervention, perceived benefits, and changes in her stress-coping strategies.

pre and post therapy stress scores


1. Quantitative Results:
  • Pre-intervention PSI score: 87 (indicating high parental stress).
  • Pre-intervention DASS-21 scores: Depression: 20, Anxiety: 18, Stress: 22.
  • Post-intervention PSI score: 46 (indicating a significant reduction in parental stress).
  • Post-intervention DASS-21 scores: Depression: 10, Anxiety: 9, Stress: 12 (indicating significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and stress levels).
2. Qualitative Results:
  • Participant reported increased awareness of her stress triggers and a better ability to manage them.
  • She expressed feeling more in control of her emotions and noted improved communication with her children and spouse.
  • She described increased self-confidence and a greater sense of empowerment in her parenting role.

This case study demonstrates the positive effects of psychotherapy on parental stress. The combination of quantitative and qualitative data revealed a significant reduction in the participant’s parental stress levels and improvements in her emotional well-being. These results highlight the effectiveness of psychotherapy in addressing parental stress, enhancing coping skills, and promoting better parent-child interactions.

Teletherapy Advantages

  1. Accessibility: Teletherapy allowed participant to access treatment without geographic or logistical barriers. As a stay at home mother of 2 children, this flexibility was invaluable.
  2. Comfort and Privacy: She felt more at ease receiving therapy from the comfort of her home. This privacy helped build trust and openness with the therapist.
  3. Consistency: Teletherapy ensured regular, scheduled appointments, which was crucial for participant’s progress.
  4. Cost-Effective: Teletherapy often proves more cost-effective than in-person therapy, making it an affordable option for many.


This case study emphasizes the potential benefits of tele psychotherapy in reducing parental stress and improving overall mental health. It underscores the importance of early intervention and support for parents experiencing high levels of stress. Further research should explore the long-term sustainability of these effects and consider the cost-effectiveness of tele-therapy in broader contexts.

Sayee Deshpande
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