What works in engagement of families in behavioural family therapy? A positive model from the therapist perspective

Carolyn Gordon, Delia Cushway, Grainne Fadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Strong evidence exists to support the use of psychoeducational approaches in psychosis. However, engagement of families in such approaches is problematic.

Aims: The aim of the qualitative study described was to establish what therapists and families believe to be helpful (or otherwise) in the engagement of families in behavioural family therapy (BFT). In addition, the nature of the relationship between workers and families was explored.

Method: Data were collected via interviews with trained therapists and family members engaged in BFT. A grounded theory approach was used in the analysis of interview transcripts.

Results: A model of engagement from the therapist perspective was developed. A core category of humanity emerged. The model is described and discussed in relation to the implementation literature regarding psychoeducational family interventions.

Conclusions: Qualities possessed by the practitioner are key in engagement of families and the application of psychoeducational approaches. Further research using qualitative methods is recommended in capturing the complexity of the issues surrounding this neglected but crucial aspect of therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006



  • Behavioural family therapy
  • engagement
  • therapist factors
  • grounded theory
  • qualitative research

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