Contemporary Family Therapy Models

Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT), Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Multisystemic Therapy (MST) and The Open Dialogue Approach

This module covers four models of therapy providing an overview and the core concepts of how to apply the different approaches when working with clients. 

Part 1: ABFT reviews of the work of empirically informed family therapy model that is manualised emotion-focused therapy that aims to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild secure-based parent-child relationship.  

Part 2: FFT module provides an overview of this short-term intervention (12-15 sessions) that combines systemic therapy and cognitive –behavioural therapy. The five distinct phases of engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behaviour change, and generalization are described with examples of its application given. 

Part 3: MST module provides the framework for this problem- focused intervention that incorporates structural family therapy, behavioral parent training and CBT.

Part 4: Open Dialogue approach. This module provides an overview of how to apply this model in practice which involves a consistent family/social network approach to care carried out through meetings involving the patient together with his or her family members and extended social network. 10 – CPD hours.

Cost of Course: $110

Successful completion of this E-Learning Course earns 10 ACMHN continuing professional education (CPE) points. 

This course is accredited by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN).


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Part 1 Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT)

  • To develop an understanding of the ABFT therapy approach, including the key therapeutic tasks
  • To review the five core therapeutic tasks addressed in this model including:     
    • Relational tasks
    • Adolescent alliance building task
    • Alliance with parents
    • Attachment task
    • Autonomy promoting task
  • This module reviews the road map  to apply these tasks in therapy for use with young people and their families where the focus is improving self-reflection/understanding and improving more positive relationships


Part 2 Multisystemic Family Therapy (MFT)

  • To develop an understanding of what MFT is and how it works as an intensive family and community based treatment program 
  • To become aware of how to apply MFT in clinical practice as an action-oriented and present focused therapeutic model 
  • To review and understand the 9 principles of MST intervention including positive and strengths focused interviewing techniques, working towards increasing responsibility in practice and being present, focused and action oriented   


Part 3 The Open Dialogue Approach

  • To become aware of the Open Dialogue approach that uses a community –based integrated treatment system engaging families and social networks 
  • To be familiar with how The Open Dialogue approach and the ‘dialogic practice’ and the treatment meetings that engage the person, their network and all the helpers in a collaborative enterprise 
  • To become aware of the seven principles/values of the open dialogue approach 
  • To become aware of the dialogic process and engagement on the part of the therapist, to mobilise the resources of the person at the centre of concern and the network 
  • To understand the skills of responding and reflection as fundamental skills of the dialogic practice and also monologue and dialogue communication skills


Part 4 Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

  • To be able to understand the 5 main principles of FFT, including engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behaviour change and generalisation as core components of  therapeutic  strategies and techniques 
  • To have an understanding of the applicability of this model which offers intensive support for families at very high risk
  • To understand how the model works to provide a platform for families to change by  identifying treatment strategies  and engaging in systemic focus of behaviour change strategies