The Effective Child & Family Intervention

The Effective Child & Family (ECF) family intervention or program, also called Beardslee Family Intervention, Preventive Family Intervention or Let’s Talk Family intervention, is a strength-based, family-focused Intervention originally targeting families in which one or both parents have depression or bipolar disorder.

In Finland, the intervention has also been used in other demanding family situations e.g. when parents have other illnesses e.g. cancer or when parents are recovering from dependency problems. In addition, the intervention has been found to be beneficial also in child protection services. 

One of the goals of the ECF program is to improve family relationships, functioning and communication as difficulties such as mental illness and drug abuse affect the everyday life of the family. Another key goal of the intervention is to assist parents in recognizing and building on strengths in the family in order to enhance resilience in themselves and their children.

The program involves a series of sessions in which parents reflect on the ways the e.g. illness has affected the family life and the everyday life if the child, and how to support the wellbeing of the child. There is also a child session and a Family Meeting. 

The process of the ECF Family Intervention 

Is built up of 6-8 sessions depending on the number of children and the needs.

The sessions

  • Two sessions with the parents 
  • Individual sessions with the children 
  • Planning session with the parents 
  • The family session 
  • Feedback session + planning for the future
  • In addition – if possible, a periodic follow-up with parents, 1-2 times a year  


The ECF Family Intervention is manualized and the process is based on a logbook which gives the focus and instructions for each session. 

The material is part of The Effective Child and Family (ECF) training program and available for the trainees only.