The American Psychological Association recently signed a contract for the newest book about Functional Family Therapy. The book, titled Functional Family Therapy: An evolving evidence-based treatment for contemporary family issues is authored by Thomas L. Sexton, Ph. D., ABPP; Astrid van Dam, Clinical Director of FFT Partners and Marta Anderson, LCSW, FFT Partners Director of Quality Improvement. Tom Sexton, one of the model developers of FFT has a long list of publications on FFT. In addition, Sexton, van Dam and Anderson work together at FFT Partners and are actively involved every day helping community agencies train and supervise therapists to help families in effective ways.
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) has a long history as a treatment model for adolescent conduct problems, drug use, and mental health concerns (Alexander & Parsons, 1973; Gurman & Kniskren, 1981; Sexton, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018). FFT is one of the early generations of family therapy models and contributed to the early theoretical ideas and research, helping establish family therapy as a mainstream treatment approach. In the 1990’s through the 2000s, FFT became an "evidence-based" treatment and was at the center at the beginning of the evidence-based practice movement that revolutionized Juvenile Justice treatment. Twenty years later, with the implementation of the new Family First Prevention Service Act (FFPSA), evidence-based practices like FFT now have the potential to similarly revolutionize interventions used in the child welfare arena, including preventing abuse and treating youth in foster care. FFT is one of the first models identified and supported by the Family First Evidence-based Clearing House and subsequently approved to be utilized under the new Title IV E funding to support communities.
The goal of the Book is to illustrate the critical role of family therapy-based treatments in helping contemporary families with the unique challenges they face. The Book considers:
The evolution of FFT from a program that helps juvenile delinquents to one that effectively works with families in Child Welfare, Behavioral Health and Foster Care systems and with young adults.
The core clinical model, which serves as a clear map of change process treatments.
The critical role of creativity and art in an evidence-based treatment model
Our precision-based measurement system (Care4) that integrates family voice into each clinical decision, integrates clinical measurement in to actionable and monitorable clinical goals, provides ongoing measure outcomes, and provides a tool to help clinicians adjust as a case evolves. Our approach to integrating ongoing evidence into treatment in actionable ways is unique in the field.
The role that Clinical Supervision plays in both learning evidence-based models and in maintaining high model fidelity in ways that match the family needs.
The current pandemic has ushered in a new way to delivery treatment through technology. Telehealth is common in the delivery of FFT in many real community-based settings in which families struggle. Our unique integration of telehealth and technology provide an illustrative example of how Telehealth can be successfully integrated into an evidence-based treatment approach.
Here is what the reviewers thought:
“FFT has been a well-designed and practical model for years, yet it never seems to get traction in the generic family therapy books. What it has accomplished, due to the efforts of Tom Sexton and the brilliant CARE4 outcome measure system, is become a favorite of many agencies looking for a clear model that is straight-forward and can be monitored in order to show that it is effective.”
“I believe it is the most comprehensive description of any family therapy model I have seen.”
“As elegant as the FFT model is, and the nice adaptations that Sexton and his team have made to address specific populations, it is the CARE4 system that really stands out”
Watch for release dates next Summer:
Functional Family Therapy: An evolving evidence-based treatment for contemporary family issues
Thomas L. Sexton, Ph. D., ABPP
Astrid van Dam, Clinical Director of FFT Partners
Marta Anderson, LCSW, Director of Quality Improvement