Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT)

Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT)

What is BFT

Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) is a type of counselling that helps families improve their relationships and how they interact with each other. It focuses on improving family relationships and communication by addressing specific behavioural patterns within the family. It uses a family-centred approach as family dynamics play a significant role in individuals’ emotional well-being and behaviours. It works with the whole family unit, considering how each member’s actions influence one another. 

It’s like a team effort where everyone in the family comes together to make positive changes.

Problem Behaviours are then recognised with the therapist, These could include communication issues, conflicts, or disruptive behaviours. They then help with identifying the triggers: BFT explores the underlying triggers or situations that lead to problematic behaviors. It aims to understand the reasons behind certain actions and reactions within the family context.

The therapy focuses on teaching the family members new skills to communicate effectively and manage conflicts in healthier ways. This may involve improving active listening, expressing feelings constructively, and problem-solving together. BFT encourages positive changes by reinforcing behaviours that lead to more harmonious family interactions. This can involve praising and supporting each other when positive changes occur.

The therapist works with the family to set realistic goals for behaviour change and improvement in family dynamics. These goals are specific to the family’s unique challenges and circumstances.

In essence, Behavioral Family Therapy aims to enhance family functioning, reduce conflicts, and promote positive changes in communication and behaviors within the family unit. It is a collaborative and practical approach that helps families create a healthier and more supportive environment for everyone involved.


How does BFT work

BFT work by understanding the problems, identifying behaviour, learning new Skills, changing these behaviour and reinforcement.

Setting goals to achieve during therapy including having fewer arguments, showing more appreciation for each other, or spending more quality time together.


In a nutshell, Behavioral Family Therapy is about improving the way family members relate to each other and creating a happier, healthier family unit. By learning new skills and working together, families can build stronger bonds and resolve conflicts in a positive way.

CBT sessions

Here’s what happens in BFT sessions:

  1. Initial Assessment: The therapist starts by conducting an initial assessment to understand the family’s concerns, challenges, and dynamics. They listen to each family member’s perspective and gather information about the problems they are facing.

  2. Setting Goals: Together with the family, the therapist sets specific goals for therapy. These goals are based on the identified issues and what the family wants to achieve through the therapeutic process.

  3. Identifying Behavioral Patterns: The therapist observes how family members interact with each other during the sessions. They pay attention to communication styles, conflicts, and any recurring behavioral patterns that might contribute to the family’s challenges.

  4. Teaching New Skills: The therapist introduces the family to new skills and techniques that can improve their communication and interactions. These could include active listening, problem-solving strategies, conflict resolution techniques, and positive reinforcement.

  5. Role-Playing and Practice: The therapist may use role-playing exercises during the sessions to help family members practice the new skills they’ve learned. This allows them to experience different perspectives and responses in a safe environment.

  6. Addressing Specific Issues: BFT sessions often focus on specific issues brought up by family members. These could be recent conflicts or ongoing challenges that need resolution.

  7. Homework Assignments: The therapist assigns “homework” to the family, which involves practicing the new skills and techniques outside of the therapy sessions. This helps integrate the learned behaviors into their daily lives and reinforces positive changes.

  8. Encouragement and Feedback: Throughout the therapy process, the therapist provides encouragement and feedback to family members as they make progress and work towards their goals.

  9. Building a Supportive Environment: The therapist helps create a safe and supportive environment where family members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment.

  10. Evaluating Progress: Regularly, the therapist and family review the progress made towards the therapy goals. They discuss any challenges faced and adjust the treatment plan if needed.

  11. Conflict Resolution: The therapist facilitates discussions to help the family resolve conflicts constructively. They encourage open communication and guide family members towards finding solutions together.

  12. Reinforcement and Celebrating Success: Positive changes and improvements are acknowledged and celebrated by the therapist and the family. This reinforcement motivates the family to continue making progress.

BFT is typically conducted over several sessions, with each session building upon the previous ones. The therapist remains supportive, guiding, and empathetic throughout the process to promote positive changes in the family’s behaviors and dynamics.