Attachment based family therapy for young people aged 12-17 with moderate to severe depression

Emerging evidence – there isn’t much evidence on this treatment option yet, but the research that has been carried out suggests that it could be helpful with young people aged between 12-17 with moderate to severe depression.

Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) is a type of family therapy that was specifically developed for young people who are depressed and their families. ABFT is designed to focus on your family and the individual interactions and patterns associated with depression and suicidal thoughts. It aims to help repair any family relationships which have broken down and to rebuild secure relationships.  

Your professional will get to know you and your family members’ strengths and interests, and they will work with you to think about how you might be able to improve your family relationships and motivation. Your professional will also work with your parents or carers to explore their own experiences of family relationships (including when they were growing up) and how that might be affecting their parenting. Together, you, your parents or carers and your professional will discuss concerns you have about your relationship with your parents or carers and work towards resolving them. Your professional will also support you and your family to find a balance between parental involvement and support and independence. 

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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