Family-based interventions for adolescent problems

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Family-based interventions for adolescent problems in the AIFS library catalogue

Impact of the Resilient Families intervention on adolescent antisocial behavior : 14-month follow-up within a randomized trial.

Shaykhi F, Ghayour-Minaie M and Toumbourou J
Children and Youth Services Review v. 93 Oct 2018: 484-491
Resilient Families is a school-based, universal family intervention that aims to address adolescent antisocial behaviour. This article reports on an evaluation of the intervention, featuring a sample of over 2,000 year 7 students. The evaluation investigated reductions in antisocial behaviour across the whole school and for adolescents whose parents attended the parent-education activities.

Cost benefit analysis of the Murri School Healing Program

Deloitte Access Economics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
Kingston, A.C.T. : Healing Foundation, 2017.
The Healing Foundation provides funding for programs to address intergenerational trauma amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This report was commissioned to provide a cost-benefit analysis of one of these programs, The Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School (the Murri School) in Brisbane, Queensland. The Murri School combines therapeutic intervention, service coordination, family case work, family camps, cultural and group activities, and (re)connection with educational and sporting activities. In the January 2016 to June 2016 period alone, 230 children and young people and 180 adult family members took part. This evaluation estimates the potential benefits that could be achieved if the Murri program was replicated in similar state schools. Estimates are based on the positive outcomes of improved Year 12 completion rates (and thus benefits for life time earnings), improved mental health and wellbeing, and reduced contact with child protection and the justice systems.

Violence prevention and intervention programmes for adolescents in Australia : a systematic review.

Cox E, Leung R, Baksheev G, Day A, Toumbourou J, Miller P, Kremer P and Walker A
Australian Psychologist v. 51 no. 3 Jun 2016: 206-222
This article reviews the literature on the effectiveness of violence prevention programmes for young people in Australia. Evidence was reviewed for anti-bullying programmes, programmes targeting alcohol and drug-related related violence, universal interventions, family-based and parent-training interventions, and school-based programmes.

Is there a place for family-based interventions in reducing suicide-related behaviours in young people?

Cox G and Farrelly-Rosch A
Parkville, Vic. : Orygen, 2015
"Clinical approaches to reducing self-harm and suicide-related behaviours in young people usually focus on the individual young person; however, therapies that involve their family can also play a role ... This research bulletin summarises the findings from high-quality studies that have examined whether family-based interventions are effective in helping to reduce suicide-related behaviours in young people up to the age of 25 years."

Evidence-based approaches for the treatment of maltreated children : considering core components and treatment effectiveness

Timmer S and Urquiza A
Dordrecht : Springer, 2014.
"This volume provides an overview of the research describing the effects of child maltreatment on mental health, cognitive and social-emotional development. It offers descriptions of selected empirically based treatments (EBTs) written by scholars associated with its development, training, or research on its effectiveness. Each contributor presents the theoretical foundation of the EBT and evidence of its efficacy, describes the treatment process and illustrates this process with a case study of its use with a maltreated child, and discusses possible limitations. Following the chapters describing the interventions, the editors address key issues of the dissemination and implementation of these EBTs. They describe the strategies the selected interventions have used to ensure treatment fidelity in training and dissemination from the perspective of implementation science's core components of implementation. The challenges of implementing EBTs, and the difficulty of fitting protocol to the reality of clinical practice in community mental health settings are also discussed. This volume offers a central source of information for students and practitioners who are seeking effective interventions to address problems associated with child maltreatment."

Promoting protective factors for young adolescents : ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program randomized controlled trial.

Burke K, Brennan L and Cann W
Journal of Adolescence v. 35 no. 5 Oct 2012: 1315-1328
The ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program is a 6-session universal behavioral family intervention that features acceptance-based strategies. This article presents the findings of the evaluation of the program, which was conducted with 180 parents in Melbourne, Victoria. Outcomes reviewed include participant satisfaction, adolescent prosocial behaviors and conduct problems, and parent stress, life-restriction, adult-relations, social isolation, and incompetence/guilt.

The contribution of mindfulness-based therapies for children and families and proposed conceptual integration.

Harnett P and Dawe S
Child and Adolescent Mental Health v. 17 no. 4 Nov 2012: 195-208
Mindfulness is the development of a nonjudgmental accepting awareness of moment-by-moment experience. This literature review evaluates the use and benefits of mindfulness-based interventions targeting children, adolescents, and families in educational and clinical settings.

Working with sibling sexual abuse (Gatehouse Centre)

Tarczon C
Melbourne, Vic : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012.
This interview discusses the change to a more holistic approach in working with sexually abusive behaviour by children and young people. Helen Kambouridis is a Senior Psychologist at the Gatehouse Centre for the Assessment and Treatment of Child Abuse at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne. In this interview, she talks about sibling sexual assault, the treatment for children and young people with sexually abusive behaviour, family-based therapy, the role of shame for perpetrators, and the impact on parents.

Pillars of practice - linking youth and families together: family interventions for alcohol and other drug use amongst young people

Sundbery J
Vic. : Anglicare Victoria, 2012.
This manual sets out how to engage families in the treatment of young people with drug and alcohol problems. It draws on insights and best practice from the Linking Youth and Families Together program, an Anglicare Victoria program for young people and their families. The manual provides information on planning family interventions, assessment, responding to the challenges of adolescence, working with family strengths, and building family skills. It features troubleshooting issues, further reading, and practice examples of family scenarios.

What works with adolescents? Family connections and involvement in interventions for adolescent problem behaviours.

Robinson E, Power L and Allan D
Family Matters no. 88 2011: 57-64
Adolescence is an important period of growth in which healthy transition from dependence on family ideally occurs, particularly in Western societies. This may be perceived, however, as meaning that young people are increasingly less likely to need family involvement and support in their lives. As a consequence of this, there is no consistent approach to the involvement of family members in treatment and intervention options for young people in need of support. This article examines recent literature regarding adolescent-parent relationships, and explores the evidence for family-based interventions to address problems occurring in adolescence.

Communication with young people in a family services setting.

Robinson E and Miller R
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 18 2011: 3-5
There has been an increased emphasis on child-inclusive and child-focused practice in family relationship service delivery in recent years. Yet there has been little discussion about how engaging with children may differ according to the age and developmental stage of the child. Engaging young people successfully in a family counselling setting, for example, will often require a skilled use of communication that incorporates an understanding of the intricate nature of adolescent development and how this relates to the issues for the family. This article looks at some of the issues related to communicating with young people, and practice tips which may help to make the conversation run more smoothly. The article is adapted from sections of the Department of Human Services Specialist Practice Guide 'Adolescents and Their Families'.

A randomised controlled trial of the efficacy of the ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program : rationale and methodology.

Burke K, Brennan L and Roney S
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health v. 4 2010: Article 22
This article describes the rationale and methodology for an evaluation of the ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program. The Program is a 6-session universal behavioral family intervention and has been delivered in community settings throughout Melbourne, Victoria.

Family-based treatment for adolescents with bulimia nervosa.

Le Grange D
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 31 no. 2 Jun 2010: 165-175
Family-based treatment has for at least two decades now come to be seen as the treatment of choice for adolescents with anorexia nervosa (AN). Yet, involving the parents in the treatment for adolescents with bulimia nervosa (BN) have remained largely unexplored. We have recently adapted manualised family-based treatment for adolescent AN (FBT-AN) to a large group of adolescents with BN (FBT-BN). This manuscript will highlight the key tenets of manualised FBT-BN, briefly describe the three treatment phases, and summarise the main differences of this model in its application for AN versus BN. Finally, reference will be made to the first randomised controlled trial of FBT-BN showing preliminary support for the parents' involvement in the treatment of adolescent BN.

Applied restorative justice as a complement to systemic family therapy : theory and practice implications for families experiencing intra-familial adolescent sibling incest.

McNevin E
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 31 no. 1 Mar 2010: 60-72
This article considers the impact on and therapeutic responses to families where there has been intra-familial sexual assault by an adolescent member of the family against another younger member of the family. In doing so, the article will specifically highlight the nexus between systemic family therapy ideas and an applied restorative justice response in the form of Youth Justice Conferencing, as experienced through working as a family therapist in the area of adolescent sexual offending.

What works with adolescents?: family connections and involvement in interventions for adolescent problem behaviours

Robinson E, Power L and Allan D
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2010.
Adolescence is an important period of growth in which healthy transition from dependence on family ideally occurs, particularly in Western societies. This may be perceived, however, as meaning that young people are increasingly less likely to need family involvement and support in their lives. As a consequence of this, there is no consistent approach to the involvement of family members in treatment and intervention options for young people in need of support. This paper examines the literature regarding adolescent-parent relationships, and explores the evidence for family involvement in interventions, such as family therapy, to address adolescent problems. Examples of practice are provided.

Best interests case practice model [kit] : specialist practice resources

Victoria. Dept. of Human Services.
Melbourne, Vic. : Dept. of Human Services, 2010
The best interests case practice model is designed to support reforms in family services and child protection service delivery in Victoria. This kit brings together several resources for practitioners, including a summary guide to the best interests case practice model, practice charts, and five of the specialist practice resources: Child development and trauma, Cumulative harm, Infants and their families, Children with problem sexual behaviours and their families, Adolescents and their families, and Adolescents with sexually abusive behaviours and their families. These resources have also been published separately.

What works for parent involvement programs for adolescents: lessons from experimental evaluations and social interventions

Terzian M and Mbwana K
Washington, DC : Child Trends, 2009.
"Parents can play an important role in helping their adolescent children acquire or strengthen the behaviors, skills, attitudes, and motivation that promote physical and mental health and overall well-being. Recognizing this, a variety of programs and interventions seek to engage parents in efforts to achieve one or more outcomes for their adolescents: academic achievement; a reduction in internalizing behaviors such as depression and anxiety, or in disruptive or delinquent behaviors; a reduction or avoidance of substance use; avoidance of sexual risk-taking; and achieving/maintaining health and fitness. In this Fact Sheet, Child Trends synthesizes the findings from 47 experimental evaluations of parent involvement interventions for adolescents to identify the components and strategies associated with successful programs and interventions."

Program spotlight : helping families with complex needs - integration of the Strength to Strength and Resources for Adolescents and Parents programs.

Parker R
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 14 2009: 18-20
Humanitarian Entrant families settling in Australia often experience a range of difficulties. Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) provide assistance in meeting basic needs and adjusting to a new way of life but are often unable to address some of the more serious interpersonal issues that require a high level of counselling or family therapy. Two programs have joined to fill this gap: the Resources for Adolescents and Parents Program (RAPS) and the Strength to Strength Western Sydney Humanitarian Entrants Program (STS) run at Relationships Australia's Parramatta site. This article highlights the benefits and challenges of linking these two programs to reach out to and help migrant families.

Five messages every adolescent needs to hear.

Ward D
Psychotherapy in Australia v. 15 no. 3 May 2009: 48-54
Every family will give innumerable messages, spoken and unspoken, to their adolescent son or daughter during the teenage years. Some messages are not only helpful, but indeed necessary to ensure the adolescent is launched effectively into the world beyond. Other messages are less than helpful and may stifle healthy family/adolescent relationships. This article suggests five messages that can be used as a template for adequately launching teenagers and to encourage healthy familial ties once the adolescent has left the family nest. They are offered as a map for beginning family therapists or for any therapist working with families during this lifecycle stage. Two brief case vignettes help to illustrate the five messages.

Program spotlight : Getting Tough or Getting Together - a model of engagement.

Parker R
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 13 2009: 15-17
A group of professionals in the Wodonga region in north east Victoria have formed a partnership to deliver a unique model of improving young peoples' engagement with school and the community and providing support services to their families. To find out more, Robyn Parker talked with members of the network of professionals who run the program: Shandell Blythe (Gateway Community Health); Leading Senior Constable Kevin Mack (Youth Resource Officer, Victoria Police); Margaret Hunter (Gateway Community Health); and Alyson Miller (Assistant Principal, Wodonga Middle Years Campus).

Relationship counselling for children, young people and families.

Geldard K and Geldard D
London : SAGE, 2009.
This text book provides an introduction to the skills of relationship counselling. Section 1 introduces the main established models used in relationship counselling and discusses the use of reflection teams and co-therapists. The main approach used in this book is the CACHO (Communication, Awareness, CHoice, Outcome) model, an integrative approach to change theory. The remaining sections of the book focus on particular populations: families, children, and young people. These chapters address the basic skills concerning helping clients talk about their relationships with parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other significant adults, and focusing on and addressing relationship issues.

Fastfood therapy : 'Finding Solutions' in a timely way amidst the pace of delivery.

Crawford D
Parity v. 22 no. 2 Mar 2009: 42
Melbourne Citymission's Finding Solutions program was established in 2004, and provides a rapid response outreach service to young people aged 12-16 years and their families when the young person is at risk of leaving the family home. This article describes the operation of Finding Solutions North West, in illustration of the program's response to young people at risk in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. The Victorian Department of Human Services refers clients to the program after they have come to the attention of the child protection system because they are at risk of harm. The article explains the protocols that define the practices and responsibilities of each agency, and the program's counselling and mediation work.

Does family intervention for adolescent substance use impact parental mental health? A systematic review.

Yuen E and Toumbourou J
Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH) 1446-7984 v. 7 no. 3 Nov 2008 14p
Adolescent substance abuse is a prevalent problem and both individual and group family interventions are increasingly being used to assist families to cope. A literature review was conducted to identify whether individual and group family interventions for adolescent substance abuse enhance the mental health of parents and other family members. The review also sought to identify direct and indirect effects of family intervention processes on depressive symptoms and general distress. Based on quality criteria a total of nine studies were included. Of these, six quantitatively examined family intervention outcomes on family member mental health, with all six reporting positive effects. Four of the nine studies measured levels of depressive symptoms and three of these four studies reported significant direct effects of family intervention on parental depression. The positive effects were also found in the three qualitative studies included in the review. Indirect therapeutic mechanisms that contributed to mental health improvements included: reduction of stress symptoms, improved coping, improved family functioning, more effective parenting behaviours, attitude changes, perceived changes in relative's substance use, and improved social support. The available literature suggests that a number of determinants of family mental health may potentially be impacted through family intervention for adolescent substance abuse. However, definitive conclusions cannot be made at this point as the literature is mostly descriptive and there have been few longitudinal studies or randomised controlled trials.

Evaluation of a family-based intervention for siblings of children with a disability or chronic illness.

Giallo R and Gavidia-Payne S
Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH) 1446-7984 v. 7 no. 2 Jul 2008 13p
This paper describes the outcomes of a 6-week family-based psycho-educational intervention for siblings of children with a disability or chronic illness. A randomised controlled trial method was used with 21 siblings (aged 8-16 years) and their parents. Results revealed a decrease in siblings' emotional symptoms, perceived intensity of daily stress, and use of avoidant coping; a strengthening of family time and routines; and high parental satisfaction with the program. Given the limited number of well-controlled sibling intervention studies, this research is an important step towards developing empirically supported sibling interventions, and is of significance to professionals working with families of children with a disability or chronic illness.

Behaviour Exchange Systems Training (BEST) Plus program.

Bamberg J
DrugInfo v. 6 no. 2 Jun 2008: 7
In Victoria, the original BEST model emerged as an eight-week, facilitated, group-work model for parents in families with an adolescent with substance use problems. The BEST Plus program was developed to increase support for parents and extend the support to siblings. Evaluations of the program show that it is effective in helping parents and siblings to redevelop positive family environments that encourage responsible behaviour and recovery from drug abuse. This article describes participants' responses to the program and its further development into a multi-family model that can be used in community settings to improve family and community relationships.

Adolescents who use violence in the home.

Melbourne, Vic : Women's Information Referral Exchange (WIRE), 2007
This information sheet defines abuse, giving examples of abusive behaviour that adolescents might demonstrate at home. The factors that might make such behaviour more extreme and hard to control are identified. Strategies for regaining control and rebuilding relationships with adolescent children are suggested, together with ways for parents to protect themselves and others against physical violence. The sheet lists the types of assistance available and the services in Victoria that provide this assistance.


National Council on Family Relations.
Minneapolis, Minn. : National Council on Family Relations, 2007.

The role of the family therapist and health professional in mental health promotion and youth suicide prevention.

Woodhouse A
Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH) 1446-7984 v. 6 no. 3 Nov 2007 8p
Youth suicide is complex and concerns all who work with families, including family therapists and health professionals. Having worked within a child, adolescent and family mental health service as a family therapist, psychiatric nurse and Mental Health Promotion Officer in Gippsland, Victoria, the author reflects upon and integrates each of these approaches into a whole population health approach to youth suicide prevention. These views are presented in three parts, beginning with an overview of youth suicide, depression and the current suicide prevention strategy. Then, the role and effectiveness of family therapy in working with these issues is presented. Finally, integration of mental health promotion with family therapy is reviewed. The challenges and opportunities for family therapists and other health professionals in striving to achieve integration in mental health promotion and youth suicide prevention are discussed. Practice examples from the author's rural region are included to demonstrate the fit of this approach with current youth suicide prevention strategies and research.

Reputation: working with an adolescent with challenging behaviours and his mother: reflections from a supervision group.

Assan B
VAFT News (Victorian Association of Family Therapists) v. 29 no. 5 Oct-Nov 2007 20-21
The value of the supervision group in shaping family therapy strategies is explored through the case study of an adolescent and his mother. The therapist describes his difficulty in sidestepping the negative elements brought to therapy sessions through the mother's account of the son's behaviour. He discusses the useful alternative approaches offered by the supervision group through role play, and the insight into his own responses that it provided.

Linking families together: narrative conversations with children, adolescents and their families.

Aman J
International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work no. 4 2007 27-37
This paper explores ways of responding to the problems children and adolescents face in ways that include and honour the contributions of other family members. For example, parents and care-givers can be enlisted to help with scaffolding and outsider-witnessing, as well as providing what the author refers to as 'co-memories'. The paper also discusses specific ways of working with children, such as keeping therapeutic conversations fun, regarding children as 'story listeners', opening space for conversations about difficult problems, and using therapeutic documents. How these considerations are put into practice is then documented in three accounts of working with children and adolescents on issues of anxiety, the death of a pet, and a parent's diagnosis of cancer.
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