XIV Conference of European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
Trauma in Changing Societies:
Social Contexts and Clinical Practice

10-13 June 2015 Vilnius, Lithuania

Multifamily Therapy (MFT) with Families after Traumatic Events

10 June | 10:00 – 17:00
Room 308

Workshop description:

Psychotrauma results in consequences that go beyond the individual. Long lasting cumulative (traumatic) stress and chronic PTSD of (a) family member(s) can seriously undermine the family routines, relations, patterns of communication and limit the parental functioning, leading to psychosocial difficulties of the children. The posttraumatic family reorganization can facilitate or hinder the functional adaptation. Intimate family members are part of the adaptation process that violence-stricken people go through. Similarly, social support is one of the crucial factors in ameliorating the harm caused by violence.

Multifamily therapy (MFT) is a system-oriented intervention that aims to facilitate adequate functioning in couples, parent-child dyads or families. It is both a setting as well as a method. MFT is characterized by bringing together 6-8 families (or systems) in open or closed group-settings. The families share common difficulties e.g., coping with the relational consequences of PTSD by ex-military or having a child with internalizing or externalizing problems. One of the core principles is that families benefit from other families best; the task of the MFT-facilitator is to enhance interaction and guide experimentation with behavioralternatives whenever possible. Activities employed are playful as children are involved. There are numerous possibilities to work with sub-systems, e.g., families, father-son or mother-daughter dyads etc.

MFT is implemented in Foundation Centrum ’45, the Netherlands for treatment of family consequences of trauma. Since its introduction within the work of the presenters, it has been employed in their clinical practice with refugees and asylumseekers, war-veterans, in prevention program in collective centers for asylumseekers and in conflict area.

The MFT as applied in Centrum ’45 is mentalization based focused on improving the sensitive parentingrelationships between parents and children and strength based: empowering families to cope with traumatic experiences and their consequences. In this pre-conference workshop MFT for traumatized families will be introduced, illustrated and explained with regard to its core principles. Examples from practice will be shared during this workshop. Participants will learn the basic elements of MFT, and have a clear idea of how to implement the intervention.


Mooren 2013

Dr. Trudy Mooren

Trudy Mooren, PhD, works as a clinical psychologist in Foundation Centrum ’45, national institute for specialised diagnostics and treatment of psycho-traumatic problems in the Netherlands. She coordinates the program for traumatized families. This involves the implementation, training and study of the effects of Mentalization-Based Multifamily Approach. She is a licensed CBT, EMDR and family therapist and board member of the European Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS).

photo Julia Bala

Dr. Julia Bala

Julia Bala, PhD  is a  clinical psychologist and psychotherapist working for Foundation Center ’45, national expert center for diagnostics and treatment of complex trauma in the Netherlands. She has been developing therapeutic methodologies for traumatized refugee children and families for many years. Her current work  includes  implementation of  Multi- Family Therapy and exploring its preventive potentials. Her area of expertise  is treatment of  family consequences of trauma, influence of PTSD on parenting and strengthening resilience.  She has authored many articles in professional journals and has contributed to several books.