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Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) is a manualized, empirically informed and supported, family therapy model specifically designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent suicide and/or depression
Monday, August 27, 2018 | 10:00 AM PDT | 01:00 PM EDT
Overview: Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) is a manualized, empirically informed and supported, family therapy model specifically designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent suicide and/or depression. ABFT emerges from interpersonal theories that suggest adolescent depression and suicide can be precipitated, exacerbated, or buffered against by the quality of interpersonal relationships in families. It is a trust-based, emotion-focused psychotherapy model that aims to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild an emotionally protective, secure-based parent-child relationship.
Treatment is characterized by five treatment tasks:
Reframing the therapy to focus on interpersonal development
Building alliance with the adolescent
Building alliance with the parents
Facilitating conversations to resolve attachment ruptures
Promoting autonomy and competency in the adolescent
The ABFT model grows out of the Structural Family Therapy tradition (Minuchin, 1974) but is informed by more contemporary systemic approaches such as Multidimensional Family Therapy (Liddle, 1999) and Emotionally-focused therapy (Greenberg and Johnson, 1988). Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969) provides the over-arching framework for understanding and intervening in the clinical process. Without ignoring biological factors, ABFT therapists presume that family conflict, detachment, harsh criticism or more insidious family traumas (e.g., abandonment, neglect abuse) can cause, maintain and/or exacerbate depression in adolescents.
The impact of these family processes is compounded when parents fail to comfort, support and help their adolescent identify, discuss and work through these disturbing experiences. Conversely, when adolescents perceive their parents as caring, protective and autonomy-granting, the family provides a secure base helping the adolescent to withstand and grow from life's stressors.
ABFT aims to repair ruptures in the attachment relationship, and establish or resuscitate the secure base so important for adolescent development. "Repairing attachment" occurs by first helping fami