What makes FBT most effective?

Re-posted from Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (CCED) blog archives. CCED and The Emily Program partnered in 2014.

By Dr. Mark Warren

For several years it’s been clear that Family Based Therapy (FBT) has the most evidence-based support for its effectiveness with recovery rates in the 50-60% range for adolescents with anorexia who have been ill for less than three years. This number is two to three times better than other therapies for this patient population.

Having said that, this still means there are a significant number of adolescents who are not recovering through traditional FBT. A recent study highlights behaviors during the family meal that appear to predict when FBT is most likely to be effective. As FBT is the core of how we treat adolescents at CCED, we are particularly interested in this research. This may be significant for adolescents and families for whom FBT may be quite effective but need greater support around parental empowerment, setting contingencies, managing meals and other mechanisms that may improve their rates of recovery. This article will hopefully be part of a new wave of interest in ways to make this evidence-based therapy even more effective for more patients.

Contributions by Sarah Emerman

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