Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)
Family Behavior Therapy

Family Behavior Therapy (FBT), which has demonstrated positive results in both adults and adolescents, is aimed at addressing not only substance use problems but other co-occurring problems as well, such as conduct disorders, child mistreatment, depression, family conflict, and unemployment. FBT combines behavioral contracting with contingency management.

FBT involves the patient along with at least one significant other such as a cohabiting partner or a parent (in the case of adolescents). Therapists seek to engage families in applying the behavioral strategies taught in sessions and in acquiring new skills to improve the home environment. Patients are encouraged to develop behavioral goals for preventing substance use and HIV infection, which are anchored to a contingency management system. Substance-abusing parents are prompted to set goals related to effective parenting behaviors. During each session, the behavioral goals are reviewed, with rewards provided by significant others when goals are accomplished. Patients participate in treatment planning, choosing specific interventions from a menu of evidence-based treatment options. In a series of comparisons involving adolescents with and without conduct disorder, FBT was found to be more effective than supportive counseling.

Further Reading:

Azrin, N.H.; Donohue, B.; Besalel, V.A.; Kogan, E.S.; and Acierno, R. Youth drug abuse treatment: a controlled outcome study. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse 3:1–16, 1994.

Carroll, K.M.; and Onken, L.S. Behavioral therapies for drug abuse. American Journal of Psychiatry 168(8):1452–1460, 2005.

Donohue, B.; Azrin, N.; Allen, D.N.; Romero, V.; Hill, H.H.; Tracy, K.; Lapota, H.; Gorney, S.; Abdel-al, R.; Caldas, D.; Herdzik, K.; Bradshaw, K.; Valdez, R.; and Van Hasselt, V.B. Family Behavior Therapy for substance abuse: A review of its intervention components and applicability. Behavior Modification 33:495–519, 2009.

LaPota, H.B.; Donohue, B.; Warren, C. S.; and Allen, D.N. Integration of a Healthy Living curriculum within Family Behavior Therapy: A clinical case example in a woman with a history of domestic violence, child neglect, drug abuse, and obesity. Journal of Family Violence 26:227–234, 2011.