Attachment-Based Family Therapy: A Review of the Empirical Support

Fam Process. 2016 Sep;55(3):595-610. doi: 10.1111/famp.12241. Epub 2016 Aug 19.


Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) is an empirically supported treatment designed to capitalize on the innate, biological desire for meaningful and secure relationships. The therapy is grounded in attachment theory and provides an interpersonal, process-oriented, trauma-focused approach to treating adolescent depression, suicidality, and trauma. Although a process-oriented therapy, ABFT offers a clear structure and road map to help therapists quickly address attachment ruptures that lie at the core of family conflict. Several clinical trials and process studies have demonstrated empirical support for the model and its proposed mechanism of change. This article provides an overview of the clinical model and the existing empirical support for ABFT.

Keywords: Adolescents; Attachment-Based Family Therapy; Depression; Research; Suicidal Ideation; base empírica; depresión; ideas suicidas; jóvenes; terapia familiar basada en el apego; 基于依赖的家庭心理治疗; 实证支持; 抑郁; 自杀念头; 青少年.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / psychology
  • Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders / therapy*