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High rates of adolescent depression and suicide present as a major international public health problem. 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. An empirically supported family therapy for adolescents struggling with depression and suicide that requires only weekly sessions and which can be conducted on an outpatient, home-based, or inpatient basis is Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT). ABFT emerges from interpersonal theories suggesting adolescent depression and suicide can be precipitated, exacerbated, or buffered against by the quality of interpersonal family relationships. It is a trust-based, emotion-focused psychotherapy model aiming to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild an emotionally protective, secure-based, parent-child relationship. The therapy is trauma-focused while also being brief and structured. Treatment is characterized by five treatment tasks: a) reframing the therapy to focus on interpersonal development, b) building alliance with the adolescent, c) building alliance with the parents, d) facilitation conversations to resolve attachment ruptures and e) promoting autonomy in the adolescent.
In this workshop, Dr Levy will use lecture and case studies to provide an overview of the theoretical principles, research support, and clinical strategies forABFT. Dr. Levy will review how attachment theory,emotional regulation, and trauma resolution informthe delivery of this treatment approach. She will review the goals and structureof the five treatment tasks that provide a roadmapfor delivering this interpersonally focused psychotherapy effectively and rapidly in community mental health.