Paper on The Evidence Base of Family Therapy and Support Groups

The Evidence Base of Family Therapy and Support Groups

Over the past decade, the application of systematic approaches in working with people with developmental disabilities, their families, and support systems has grown significantly globally. How the family, the wider contexts, and the support systems interact with each other can affect how persons with developmental disabilities such as difficulty in learning and seeking medical attention. Moreover, it affects engagement expectations and the possible remedies to the crises (Battagliese et al., 2015). Family therapy can be helpful when used to explore relational difficulties within the clinical setting to help in therapeutic outcomes. Families and other support groups are a critical source of support for children with disabilities. This study explores the compelling impact of family therapy and support groups in improving treatment for patients with developmental disorders by conceptualizing the family system as a unit that can improve clinical outcomes significantly.

The family structure plays a pivotal role in the treatment and therapy adherence by persons with developmental disorders (Banneyer et al., 2018). The family unit therapy and support have developed over the years to become strong determinant of the outcomes of treatments and therapeutic approaches (Battagliese et al., 2015). Similarly, family therapy and other support systems improve perceptions to treatment applications particularly, where both the parent and the child are involved. The primary objective of family therapy and support groups is to meet the needs of all the family members and support the challenged person emotionally and psychologically (Banneyer et al., 2018). Haine-Schlagel & Walsh (2015) illustrate that family therapy plays a critical role in the treatment of developmental patients because it helps them mediate complex relationship patterns. Moreover, family therapy helps the patients come to terms with developmental disorders by enhancing self-acceptance, thereby improving outcomes and promoting positive changes in the entire family unit (Rodgers et al., 2017). Thus, family therapy is vested upon the systems perspectives and changes in one family member that can affect other family members significantly, which can either contribute positively or negatively depending on the nature of the changes and their occurrence.

Family therapy and other support groups help in the treatment process, although they must be able to deal with the consequences of the developmentally challenged person’s behaviors manifested in the treatment process. The developmental disorders include gross motor development difficulties, delays in learning languages, reciprocal social interactions and significant behavioral changes. Developmental outcomes for children with disabilities are optimized when the family unit establishes a supportive, positive, and caring environment (Rodgers et al., 2017). Family therapy can be administered alongside family psychoeducation models that have been developed in the past decade. What Moreover, translating the systems approach into productive practice requires the incorporation of family-centered practices and policies in healthcare services to improve clinical outcomes (Haine-Schlagel & Walsh 2015).

The family unit and support groups are critical in the treatment of developmental disorders. The application of family therapy and other support systems as has enhanced healthcare delivery and its outcomes on patients with developmental disorders. Family members assist with ongoing care of ill relatives due to the ongoing shift towards community-based care of persons with developmental disorders. Therefore, family therapy has improved delivery of healthcare in treating developmental disorders significantly.




Battagliese, G., Caccetta, M., Luppino, O. I., Baglioni, C., Cardi, V., Mancini, F., & Buonanno, C. (2015). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for externalizing disorders: A meta-analysis of treatment effectiveness. Behaviour research and therapy75, 60-71.

Banneyer, K. N., Bonin, L., Price, K., Goodman, W. K., & Storch, E. A. (2018). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety Disorders: a Review of Recent Advances. Current psychiatry reports20(8), 65.

Haine-Schlagel, R., & Walsh, N. E. (2015). A review of parent participation engagement in child and family mental health treatment. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review18(2), 133-150.

Rodgers, J., Hodgson, A., Shields, K., Wright, C., Honey, E., & Freeston, M. (2017). Towards a treatment for intolerance of uncertainty in young people with autism spectrum disorder: development of the coping with uncertainty in everyday situations (CUES©) programme. Journal of autism and developmental disorders47(12), 3959-3966.