Family-Focused Therapy (FFT) for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder profoundly affects the lives of those who experience it, as well as their families. Research has shown that family environment plays a major role in how the disorder manifests, and that families can provide a powerful support to individuals (especially for children & teens) as they develop skills to manage their condition and live a fulfilling life.

Family-Focused Therapy (FFT) is a treatment approach that is typically provided in conjunction with standard pharmacotherapy for bipolar disorder. FFT focuses on increasing understanding of the nature of bipolar disorder, improving family communication & problem-solving, and decreasing patterns of interaction that place the individual at higher risk of relapse. In treatment studies of adolescents with bipolar disorder, FFT for adolescents has been shown to provide quicker remission of depressive symptoms and fewer depressive symptoms over the long-term.

Dr. Andrew Fleming provides FFT for children, teens, and young adults and their families. He received specialty training in FFT from the primary treatment developer, Dr. David Miklowitz.


Empirical Support

Miklowitz et al., 2008 - Largest randomized clinical trial of Family-Focused Therapy for adolescents with bipolar disorder

Miklowitz et al., 2004 - Initial clinical trial and description of Family-Focused Therapy for adolescents with bipolar disorder

Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013 - Comprehensive summary of evidence-based practice in treatment of bipolar disorder


Popular Press

ESPN: NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his experience with DBT



Brochure on Bipolar Disorder in Children & Teens by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (pdf)