Multi-Family Groups in Schools

Developed over a period of more than 30 years, the multi-family groups in schools model offers accessible, non-stigmatising, psychological support to children who are disruptive, hyperactive, impulsive, anxious, depressed, have erratic school attendance or experience social difficulties. The aim is to improve emotional, mental health-related and academic outcomes for children and young people with these complex problems by sharing experiences with other families.

Multi-family groups in schools rely on a rich partnership being formed between a CAMHS professional and a teacher. The skills and knowledge exchange afforded through their working together enables the best of mental health practice and teaching and learning to be combined to ensure that the children, young people and their families attending the groups benefit.

The model is provided in three ways: through delivery, training and consultation.

Delivery

Multi-family groups in schools are designed to give children who are frequently at risk of exclusion access to psychological and therapeutic help whilst working with their families. By introducing the multi-family groups model within schools, support is provided to both the young person and their family within the non-stigmatising environment of the school.

Delivery of the model aims to:

  • Address the behaviour that puts the child at risk of exclusion
  • Develop the child's social and emotional skills
  • Enable parents to improve their relationships with their child and school
  • Exchange skills and knowledge between mental health and education professionals
  • Develop mini-communities capable of sustaining improvement
  • Raise children's academic achievements and attendance rates
  • Reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Improve parenting competencies
  • Develop trust with professional service providers
  • Improve family-school relationships

Training

  • Multi-Family Therapy Group trainings are delivered by experienced practitioners with significant experience of successfully embedding the model in schools in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and the UK.

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families offers a training course in Multi-Family Therapy.

We also offer bespoke consultations and supervisions targeted at heads, senior managers of schools and senior psychological, social and mental health support professionals and commissioners.

Current Work and Research

We are currently working on a three year Multi-family groups project over the next three years in Ealing and Brent.

Enquiries about our Multi-family groups in schools can be made by contacting Natalie Merrett, Mental Health in Schools Coordinator: Email: Natalie.merrett@annafreud.org