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The Effective Child & Family intervention (ECF), also called Beardslee Family Intervention, Preventive Family intervention or Let´s Talk Family intervention, is a 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 challenging family situations, i.e. when parents have other illnesses e. g. cancer or when parents are recovering from dependency problems. The intervention has been found to be beneficial also in child protection services.

One of the goals of the ECF intervention 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 their illness has affected the family life and the everyday life of the child, and how to support the wellbeing of the child. There is also a child session and a family meeting.

The prosess of the ECF family intervention is built up of 6-8 sessions, depending on the number of the children and the needs.

  • two sessions with parents
  • individual sessions with the children
  • planning sessions with the parents
  • the family meeting
  • feedback session + planning for the future
  • in addition – if possible, a periodic follow-up with parents, 1-2 times in a year

The ECF family intervention is manualized and the process is based on a log book which gives the focus and instructions for each session.

The material is part of the ECF training program and available for the trainees only.