Attachment-based family therapy: Theory, clinical model, outcomes, and process research

Guy Diamond, Gary M. Diamond, Suzanne Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Attachment-based family therapy (ABFT; Diamond G.S. et al., 2014) is an empirically supported treatment designed to capitalize on the innate, biologically based, caregiving instinct and adolescent need for attachment security. This therapy is grounded in attachment and emotional processing theory and provides an interpersonal, process-oriented, trauma-informed approach to treating adolescents struggling with suicide and associated problems such as depression and trauma. ABFT offers a clear structure and road map to help therapists quickly address the attachment ruptures that lie at the core of family conflict, which can fuel adolescent distress. Several clinical trials and process studies have demonstrated empirical support for the model and its proposed mechanisms of change. In this paper, we provide an overview of the theories underlying the model, the clinical strategies that guide the treatment, the outcome research that demonstrates efficacy, and the process research that explores the proposed mechanisms of change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-295
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Adolescents
  • depression
  • family treatment
  • outcomes research
  • process research
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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