Searching for change mechanisms in emotion-focused work with adolescents and parents: An example from multidimensional family therapy

Céline Bonnaire, Howard Liddle, Alexandre Har, Olivier Phan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Disconnection and disengagement are frequent characteristics of interactions between parents and adolescents who present with substance use disorders. Excessive blame, defensiveness, and recrimination characterize day-to-day interactions within these families. Developmental psychopathology research reveals both short- and long-term effects of negative emotional patterns between parents and adolescents on the young person's development, as well as on the parents' functioning and their parenting practices in particular. Persistent expression and experience of negative emotions are also associated with poor treatment outcome, as they act as barriers to treatment engagement and change. This article demonstrates how research-based knowledge can guide therapeutic strategy and how emotions can be transformed in an empirically supported, family-based treatment: multidimensional family therapy. Transcripts with commentary from an adolescent, a parent, and from family therapy sessions illustrate emotion-related interactional transactions and interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-121
Number of pages22
JournalCouple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Change mechanisms
  • Emotion-focused interventions
  • Multidimensional family therapy
  • Parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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