Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

A Grandparent in the room: multiple family therapy for adolescents


To provide a descriptive clinical perspective on the introduction and development of Multiple Family Therapy Groups for Day Patients and Outpatients at Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth Western Australia. Challenges will be discussed including motivation, integration and application with view to sharing with the audience the pitfalls and possibilities of this dynamic approach combining family and group therapies.


Retrospective clinical perspectives, a composite case and literature review will be presented to highlight the exploration and evolution of a multiple family therapy groups.


The focus of discussion will be on lessons learnt about the process of adapting clinical treatments within existing service frameworks including strategy for motivating and engaging both staff and patients in the process of change.


With creativity and collaboration, multiple family therapies can be integrated within existing treatment frameworks, research grants can facilitate the process of program development and extended families can become important treatment allies.


Multiple family therapy can be adapted to fit existing service frameworks and offers new possibilities for engagement with the adolescent and their wider family system. Grandparents, siblings, uncles and aunties are all resources in the treatment of an adolescent with an eating disorder, and can offer alternative portals of hope and support in the recovery process.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carol Smith.

Rights and permissions

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Smith, C., Potts, J., Hoiles, K. et al. A Grandparent in the room: multiple family therapy for adolescents. J Eat Disord 2 (Suppl 1), P13 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: