Anna Dias MSc

Anna Dias MSc

Psychological Therapies


Family therapy aims to produce second-order rather than first-order change that is ways of handling new situations in the future rather than simply resolving the current problem. These beneficial, second order, changes may take time to become apparent post therapy. This study explores this idea by following up 15 families, seen by Family Matters, six months after successful therapy.

Family functioning was measured by a self-rating score and empirically by the Family Environment Scale (FES) questionnaire. This was administered at the start, the end and six months post therapy.

The participants were families attending Family Matters who had completed therapy in the previous six months. Of these 85% had improved functioning after therapy. Out of these families 75% continued to show improvement in functioning after six months while 25% did not.

The data was analysed using ANOVA methods for statistical significance. The families were asked the reasons for the positive changes in functioning. These were subject to a thematic analysis to enrich the data.

The study found statistically significant improved family functioning after therapy. There was also evidence approaching significance for ongoing improvement in family functioning six months post therapy. This has positive implications not only for the perceived effectiveness of family therapy but also the funding.

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