According to a news release from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a study has shown that “adolescents with suicidal thoughts and elevated depression had stronger and faster reduction of symptoms when treated with family therapy than with standard treatment.”
In this study, Attachment-based Family Therapy (ABFT), found that patients with severe suicidal thinking were at least four times more likely to have no suicide thinking at the end of the treatment or three months after treatment, than patients treated in the community. Patients in ABFT also showed a more rapid decrease in depression symptoms and were retained in treatment longer than in community care … This is the first treatment study for teen suicidal ideation to show robust and statistically significant improvement over treatment as usual.
“Family conflict, chaos, and strife can contribute to youth suicide, while at the same time family love, trust, and communication can buffer against it,” [says Dr. Guy Diamond of the hospital’s Center for Family Intervention Science, who directed the study]. “This therapy aims to resolve family conflicts and promote family strengths so that the appropriate bond of attachment can protect youth from self harm.”
The research report appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Diamond is delivering a workshop for clinicians in Attachment-based Family Therapy at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on April 9-10.
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