Family Focused Therapy (FFT)
Problems in one family member may affect the family as a whole.
Family stress may also contribute to relapse in some individuals (other factors can include life stressors and a biological predisposition to illness), and involving all family members in treatment has been found to have substantial benefits in mental health over an 8-year period.
How Does Family Focused Therapy Work?
Family Focused Therapy has been successfully used with families where a member has a diagnosis such as depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or schizophrenia. It generally involves all immediate family members in treatment.
There are several stages of Family Focused Therapy.
The stages include:
- Education about symptoms
- Education about the causes of different disorders
- Education about medication adherence (if appropriate)
In addition, families are taught to recognize and respond when a family member is beginning to have symptoms and are given information about the best ways to approach and cope with these issues. Families also learn communication skills for lessening conflict and dealing effectively with family problems.
When a person has been deeply heard, their eyes may moisten. It is as though they were saying, “Someone knows what it’s like to be me.”
― Carl Rogers
Goals for Family Focused Therapy Participants
- Recognize and cope with stressors
- Create better family relationships with new communication and problem solving tools and skills.
Who can benefit from Family Focused Therapy?
- Adults who are dealing with mental health issues and their families
- Couples where a partner is diagnosed with a disorder
- Children and teens who have experienced mental health difficulties
View Dr. Rosenfarb’s PowerPoint presentation about Family Focused Therapy to learn more about its documented benefits for families.