Areas of expertise

Structured Family Inclusive Practices

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On this page: Single Session Family Consultation; Behavioural Family Therapy; Multiple Family Groups; Let's Talk About Children; Family Therapy


Single Session Family Consultation

Single Session Family Consultation (SSFC) is an approach informed by single session therapy (SST) and the family consultation model (a brief family engagement process originally developed in mental health services in the United States; Marsh, 2001). It consists of 1-3 consultative meetings between a worker and family, including the primary client. The aim of these meetings is to clarify the nature of family involvement in the work with the client and to help the whole family identify and respond to their own needs. Special attention is given by the worker to negotiating with the client about what they would like discussed, what they would prefer remain private and how to handle any difficulties, should they arise.

This effective and efficient meeting process is appealing to families because it is often difficult for family members to commit to ongoing work. A surprising amount can be achieved in one or two sessions and the SST approach always leaves the ‘door open’ for further work with the family if required.

Behavioural Family Therapy

Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) is a structured psycho-educational model of family intervention that aims to equip families with the skills they need to cope with the inevitable difficulties they face on a day-to-day basis (Mueser & Glynn, 1999). It is a practical skills based intervention that usually takes 10 to 14 sessions to deliver. Clinicians trained in the model usually meet with the family at home on a weekly basis for one hour intervals. The total length of intensive contact varies, but is typically around 9 months.

Behavioural Family Therapy is a well-established family intervention that has been used in numerous research studies across the world. It has been shown to reduce relapse and promote recovery in people experiencing mental health difficulties and improve the wellbeing of other family members.

Multiple Family Groups

The Multiple Family Group (MFG) is a psycho-educational group intervention that promotes recovery for consumers and their families by providing a forum for mutual support and problem solving and increasing social networks (McFarlane, 2003). Research on the effectiveness of MFGs demonstrates reductions in relapse and re-admission as well as other benefits including improved participation in rehabilitation and employment by consumers. The model was first developed in the United States by McFarlane but has been used in other countries including Scandinavia and Australia. It has been employed as an intervention in relation to schizophrenia and a range of other mental health and physical conditions.

Let's Talk About Children

‘Let’s Talk’ is a two session structured intervention with parents who experience a mental illness that seeks to make talking about children and parenting issues a natural part of the alliance between parents and practitioners. It aims to support healthy parent-child relationships by empowering families to address the impact of mental illness on children. The model was developed in Finland by Solanthus et al, (2009). Let’s talk has an emerging evidence base with families reporting high levels of satisfaction with the intervention, improved understanding between family members and improved working relationships with practitioners. It has been successfully implemented in Finland’s mental health services and has attracted worldwide interest.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is an umbrella term that covers a range of methods, theories and practice styles in working with families. It is a specialist area of psychotherapy and counselling which developed in the mid-20th century and gained momentum and acceptance during the 1960s and 1970s. There are many schools of family therapy in existence today. The Bouverie Centre has a tradition of offering training in integrative family therapy specifically from a systemic framework which values non-pathologising, non-blaming and contextualising approaches to people’s problems. Our approach is informed by narrative, feminist, social constructionist and other post-modern ideas.

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