Multi-Family Therapy (MFT) for Anorexia Nervosa

I am pleased to be involved in running a pilot Multi-Family Therapy four-day programme in York from Monday 24th to Thursday 27th October 2022, along with a colleague, Dr Nicola Walker. For further information about this programme, the brochure is available here.

What is Multi-Family Therapy (MFT)?

The MFT programme has been used successfully with hundreds of children and young people, from all over the country, since 2000.

It is an innovative way of working with anyone between 15-25, and their families, where anorexia nervosa has taken hold of their lives. By participating in this intensive, therapeutic group treatment programme alongside four to six other families with
similar problems, young people and their families can reach a significant turning point – where real recovery becomes achievable and hospital admission is averted.

The MFT group encourages everybody, parents included, to play critical roles in helping to promote change. MFT can facilitate a new way of thinking about habits and behaviours leading to positive improvements which further support recovery.

How does the programme run?

We invite families to first attend an online introductory meeting with the team who will be running the programme and a graduate family who has completed the programme. The meeting will take place in the evening and there will be an opportunity to discuss the nature of anorexia nervosa and hear about what the programme will entail.

Who comes to MFT?

We invite:
• The young person with anorexia nervosa
• Parents and significant adults
• Siblings

The MFT team

The team consists of two lead therapists (Nicola and Hugh) and additional supportive therapists.

What happens in MFT?

MFT combines group therapy, family therapy, and psycho-education with creative and supportive activities and interventions. There are exercises for the whole group, some just for the young people and their siblings on their own, and some for parents as a separate group. Each one gives different opportunities to share experiences and ideas to support one another. Experience (and research) have shown us that working together to beat anorexia works.