Evidence for the effectiveness of family therapy and family-based interventions from critical literature reviews and controlled trials is considered for families with children and adolescents who present with various difficulties. The evidence supports the effectiveness of family therapy as an effective treatment either alone or as part of a multimodal or multisystemic treatment programme for child abuse and neglect, conduct problems, emotional problems and psychosomatic problems. Implications for practice, training and continuing professional development in the field of family therapy are discussed.