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Family Therapy for Depressed and Suicidal Adolescents

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Deadline: August 26, 2018 | Date: August 27, 2018

Venue/Country: Online, U.S.A

Updated: 2018-07-12 18:05:30 (GMT+9)

Call For Papers - CFP

Training Options Duration: 60 Minutes

Monday, August 27, 2018 | 10:00 AM PDT | 01:00 PM EDT

Overview: Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) is a manualized, empirically informed

and supported, family therapy model specifically designed to target family and individual

processes associated with adolescent suicide and/or depression. ABFT emerges from interpersonal

theories that suggest adolescent depression and suicide can be precipitated, exacerbated, or

buffered against by the quality of interpersonal relationships in families. It is a trust-

based, emotion-focused psychotherapy model that aims to repair interpersonal ruptures and

rebuild an emotionally protective, secure-based parent-child relationship.

Treatment is characterized by five treatment tasks:

Reframing the therapy to focus on interpersonal development

Building alliance with the adolescent

Building alliance with the parents

Facilitating conversations to resolve attachment ruptures

Promoting autonomy and competency in the adolescent

The ABFT model grows out of the Structural Family Therapy tradition (Minuchin, 1974) but is

informed by more contemporary systemic approaches such as Multidimensional Family Therapy

(Liddle, 1999) and Emotionally-focused therapy (Greenberg and Johnson, 1988). Attachment theory

(Bowlby, 1969) provides the over-arching framework for understanding and intervening in the

clinical process. Without ignoring biological factors, ABFT therapists presume that family

conflict, detachment, harsh criticism or more insidious family traumas (e.g., abandonment,

neglect abuse) can cause, maintain and/or exacerbate depression in adolescents.

The impact of these family processes is compounded when parents fail to comfort, support and

help their adolescent identify, discuss and work through these disturbing experiences.

Conversely, when adolescents perceive their parents as caring, protective and autonomy-

granting, the family provides a secure base helping the adolescent to withstand and grow from

life's stressors.

ABFT aims to repair ruptures in the attachment relationship, and establish or resuscitate the

secure base so important for adolescent development. "Repairing attachment" occurs by first

helping family members to access their longing for greater closeness and adopt the idea of

rebuilding trust. Then adolescents, in individual sessions, are helped to identify and

articulate their perceived experiences of attachment failures, and commit to a discussion of

these experiences with their parents. Then parents, also in individual sessions, are encouraged

to consider how their own intergenerational legacies affect their parenting style - which

typically leads to their developing greater empathy for their adolescent's experiences. When

adolescents and parents are ready, the therapist brings them back together to discuss the

adolescent's concerns.

As adolescents get these thoughts, feelings and memories "off their chests" and receive

acknowledgement and empathy from their parents, they become more willing to consider their own

contributions to family conflict. Although not all issues are necessarily addressed or

resolved, this mutually respectful and often emotionally-laden dialogue serves as a "corrective

attachment experience" that can set in motion a renewed sense of trust and commitment. As

tension and conflict diffuse at home, therapists encourage adolescents to pursue pro-social

activities outside the home that will promote competency and autonomy. Parents serve as the

secure base from which adolescents seek comfort, advice, support and encouragement in exploring

these new opportunities.

ABFT is a flexible yet programmatic approach to facilitating these processes. Although not

prescriptive, the treatment manual provides a clear 'road map' of how to accomplish this

"shuttle diplomacy" thereby allowing these profound and reparative conversations to occur

quickly in therapy. Therapists are taught to rapidly focus on core family conflicts, relational

failure, vulnerable emotions and the instinctual desire for giving and receiving attachment


Why should you Attend: High rates of adolescent depression and suicide present as major

international public health problems.Suicidal adolescents are often a daunting population for

clinicians to work with given their high-risk. Of the few effective treatments for this

population, many are often multi-modal involving individual and group therapy, medication, etc.

In this workshop, Dr Levy will use lecture and case studies to provide an overview of the

theoretical principles, research support, and clinical strategies for ABFT. She will review the

goals and structure of the five treatment tasks that provide a roadmap for delivering this

interpersonally focused psychotherapy effectively and rapidly in community mental health.

Areas Covered in the Session:


Depression and Suicide Statistics

Theory of Normative Functioning

Theory of Pathology

The Solution

Empirical Support

Clinical Model

Learning Objectives:

Explain the theoretical foundation of ABFT

Discuss the purpose of the five treatment tasks

Describe the strategies used in the five treatment tasks

Who Will Benefit:


Couple and Family Therapists

ER Physicians (Day One)

Health Care Administrators (Day One)

Mental Health Professionals




Primary Care Physicians (Day One)

Social Workers

Speaker Profile

Dr. Suzanne Levy is a licensed clinical psychologist and training director of the ABFT Training

Program at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. Previously, she was

the training director and a clinical child psychologist at the Center for Family Intervention

Science at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Levy is a co-developer of Attachment-

Based Family Therapy (ABFT).

ABFT is the only manualized, empirically informed and supported, family therapy model

specifically designed to target family and individual processes associated with adolescent

suicide and/or depression. Since 2007, Dr. Levy has been conducting ABFT training workshops and

supervision for therapists nationally and internationally. She also over sees ABFT treatment in

Drexel's Center for Family Intervention Science’s clinical trials. She has presented

regionally, nationally, and internationally on ABFT, emotion coaching, child and adolescent

therapies, resilience, adolescent depression, adolescent development, and adolescent substance


Dr. Levy has presented at 100’s of workshops, conferences, and invited lectures, as well as in

college classrooms. Along with her colleagues, Drs. Guy and Gary Diamond, Dr. Levy has written

the ABFT manual, "Attachment-Based Family Therapy for Depressed Adolescents" published by the

American Psychological Association.

Price - $139

Contact Info:

Netzealous LLC - MentorHealth

Phone No: 1-800-385-1607

Fax: 302-288-6884



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