Themes arising in clinical consultation for therapists implementing family-based treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa: a qualitative study
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BACKGROUND: Our study aims to explore and describe themes arising in sessions of clinical consultation with therapists implementing Family-Based Treatment (FBT) for adolescents with Anorexia Nervosa (AN). There is currently no literature describing the content of clinical consultation for FBT. Thus, this knowledge will add to the evidence-base on what therapists need from consultants in ongoing clinical consultation. METHODS: Eight therapists at four sites participated in this study, which spanned a two-year period. Following a two-day training workshop, each therapist treated at least one adolescent patient presenting with a restrictive eating disorder with FBT, focusing on adherence to the treatment manual. Clinical consultation sessions occurred monthly and were led by an external FBT expert. Thirty-five (average per site = 9) audio recorded group clinical consultation sessions were transcribed verbatim and coded for themes. Twenty percent of the transcripts were double-coded to ensure consistency. Fundamental qualitative description guided the sampling and data collection. RESULTS: Thematic content analysis revealed ten common themes relating to the provision of clinical consultation to therapists implementing FBT in clinical practice: encouraging parental meal time supervision,discussing the role of mothers, how to align parents, ensuring parental buy-in, when to transition to Phase 2, weighing the patient and the patients' knowledge of their weight, the role of siblings in FBT sessions, how best to manage patient co-morbidities, the role of the father in FBT and how best to manage the family meal. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, clinical consultation themes aligned with many of the central tenets of FBT, including how to help parents align their supportive approach during the refeeding process, and how to help parents assume control of eating disordered behaviours. This knowledge helps to guide consultants to anticipate common issues brought forward by therapists attempting to implement FBT.