Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an evidence-based treatment for adolescent behavioural problems, conduct disorder, substance misuse and delinquency. Therapists meet regularly, usually on a weekly basis for about 3 or 4 months, with adolescents and their families in conjoint sessions. During these sessions they develop a therapeutic alliance with family members, help families develop better parenting practices, communication and problem-solving skills, and use these skills independently to generalize progress made within therapy to home and community contexts.
Between 2010 and 2014, a research programme to evaluate the effectiveness and implementation of FFT at Archways Families First was conducted by Professor Alan Carr, Dan Hartnett and Clare Graham from the School of Psychology at University College Dublin, in collaboration with Professor Tom Sexton, at Indiana University and the team of FFT therapists at Archways Families First. This FFT research programme involved a retrospective survey covering the period 2007 – 2011, followed by a prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of FFT at Archways Families First during a later stage of service development covering the period 2012 – 2014. The RCT provided a valid test of the impact of FFT on adolescent behavioural problems and family adjustment within an Irish context.
Only the data from the RCT has been archived at the Irish Social Science Data Archive as part of the PEI Research Initiative.