Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Whole Family Therapy

  • Douglas C. BreunlinEmail author
  • Elizabeth Jacobsen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_555

Name of Strategy or Intervention

Whole Family Therapy


Whole family therapy (WFT) is a modality used by therapists to work with the entire family system during a course of therapy. When utilizing WFT, therapists work with as many members of the family as possible and practical, unless there are extenuating circumstances or the therapist is using a therapeutic strategy that precludes some family members from being present, such as in some treatments for abuse. The therapist works with the family to determine who should be included in the therapeutic system. In many cases, WFT includes parents/caregivers, children, and siblings. Depending on the presenting problem and family circumstances, a family may also include grandparents, extended family, or adult children, and can be defined more broadly to include any person who is deemed an important player in the system, such as friends, teachers, and other community members. In WFT, all of the identified members of the family...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern University, Center for Applied Psychological and Family Studies, Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA