Family Behavior Therapy

Family Behavior Therapy (FBT) is an outpatient behavioral treatment aimed at reducing drug and alcohol use in adults and youth along with common co-occurring problem behaviors such as depression, family discord, school and work attendance, and conduct problems in youth.

This treatment approach owes its theoretical underpinnings to the Community Reinforcement Approach and includes a validated method of improving enlistment and attendance. Participants attend therapy sessions with at least one significant other, typically a parent (if the participant is under 18) or a cohabitating partner. Treatment typically consists of 15 sessions over 6 months; sessions initially are 90 minutes weekly and gradually decrease to 60 minutes monthly as participants progress in therapy.

FBT includes several interventions, including (1) the use of behavioral contracting procedures to establish an environment that facilitates reinforcement for performance of behaviors that are associated with abstinence from drugs, (2) implementation of skill-based interventions to assist in spending less time with individuals and situations that involve drug use and other problem behaviors, (3) skills training to assist in decreasing urges to use drugs and other impulsive behavior problems, (4) communication skills training to assist in establishing social relationships with others who do not use substances and effectively avoiding substance abusers, and (5) training for skills that are associated with getting a job and/or attending school.