What is family based treatment for anorexia nervosa?

Family-based treatment model for anorexia nervosa 

The family-based treatment model is recommended in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance, for psychological treatment of anorexia nervosa in young people.  The eating disorder service recommends that it is combined with multi-family therapy. This treatment model offers sessions separately from family members, as well as sessions together with family members.   

There are typically 20 sessions over a period of a year. Reviews are planned for the first month and then every three months.  The main theme/values in the model are; the importance of the family helping the person recover, and an ethos of no blame or shame to be directed at any family member.  

Psycho-education is provided about the effects of malnutrition, the risks and advice about nutrition. Parents take on the temporary role of supporting the person to manage their eating with our teams support.  

This is a three phase approach. The first phase is to ensure we achieve a good therapeutic relationship with all family members. In the second phase we aim to work together to ensure parents move towards offering independence appropriate to the persons stage of development. In the final phase we explore any concerns the person and their family may have and plan for relapse prevention.  

This model aims to support all family members and sessions will be planned around this.  

Information for parents