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Keywords:

  • family interventions;
  • lived experience;
  • phenomenology;
  • psychosocial;
  • qualitative research

The benefits of family interventions for families having to cope with serious mental health problems are well documented but routine implementation of these interventions is often problematic. Despite a wealth of research on the clinical outcomes of such interventions, very little is known about families’ subjective perceptions of receiving them. This study reports the findings of a phenomenological enquiry into the lived experience of 10 families who received Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT) as part of a training initiative in the West Midlands Health Region of the UK. The results show that families were very satisfied with the intervention. They reported reductions in the levels of stress within the family, reduction in levels of carer burden, enhanced communication skills and a positive sense of empowerment. They attributed these changes to receiving BFT. The majority of families viewed mental health professionals and services more favourably compared to their experiences before receiving BFT. This is an important finding for service providers, commissioners and mental heath workers.