18. Family and Multifamily Therapy

  1. John R. E. Fox3 and
  2. Ken P. Goss4
  1. Mima Simic1 and
  2. Ivan Eisler2

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch18

Eating and its Disorders

Eating and its Disorders

How to Cite

Simic, M. and Eisler, I. (2012) Family and Multifamily Therapy, in Eating and its Disorders (eds J. R. E. Fox and K. P. Goss), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch18

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, UK

  2. 4

    Coventry Eating Disorders Service, United Kingdom

Author Information

  1. 1

    South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK

  2. 2

    Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 9 OCT 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470683545

Online ISBN: 9781118328910



  • adolescent anorexia nervosa;
  • anorexic child;
  • anorexic symptoms;
  • eating disorder (ED);
  • family therapy;
  • multifamily therapy (MFT);
  • therapeutic interventions


This chapter begins with a discussion on studies of family therapy for child and adolescent anorexia nervosa (AN). Most family therapy approaches that have been studied emphasize the role of the parents in managing the eating disorder (ED) symptoms in the early stages of treatment with a broadening of focus to individual or family issues at a later stage. The focus of the therapeutic interventions is to help the family to find solutions and minimize the likelihood of the need for inpatient treatment. The four phases of the treatment, namely, engagement and development of therapeutic contract, helping the family to challenge anorexic symptoms, exploring issues of individual and family development, and ending and discussion of future plans, are discussed. The chapter describes a relatively recent development in family-oriented treatment for AN, and intensive multifamily therapy (MFT) for child and adolescent anorexia nervosa.