Ecologically Based Family Therapy (EBFT)

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About This Program

Target Population: Substance-abusing runaway adolescents (12-17) and their family members who are willing to have the adolescents live in their homes

For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 17

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 12 – 17

Brief Description

EBFT addresses multiple ecological systems and originated from the therapeutic work with substance-abusing adolescents who have run away from home. The treatment was developed to address immediate needs, to resolve the crisis of running away, and to facilitate emotional re-connection through communication and problem solving skills among family members. Family interaction is a necessary target of the therapeutic techniques. Therapy relies on understanding the individual, interpersonal, and environmental context as well as the unique resources and needs of the family and its members. The intervention includes family systems techniques such as reframes, relabels, and relational interpretations; communication skills training; and conflict resolution, but also therapeutic case management in which systems outside the family are directly targeted. The model includes 12 home-based (or office-based) family therapy sessions and 2-4 individual HIV prevention sessions.

Program Goals:

The goals for Ecologically Based Family Therapy (EBFT) are:

  • Reduction and prevention of adolescent substance use
  • Reduction of family conflict and episodes of adolescent running away
  • Reduction of other symptoms, including adolescent's internalizing and externalizing problems
  • Improvement of communication and emotional connection among family members

Contact Information

Natasha Slesnick, PhD
Title: Professor
Agency/Affiliation: The Ohio State University
Department: Department of Human Development and Family Science
Phone: (614) 247-8469
Fax: (614) 292-4365

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2016

Last CEBC Contact Date: February 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2010