Intensive Structural Family Therapy is an effective tool for transforming systemic issues of eating disorder sufferers. A major question for all successful treatment is how long will the positive changes be maintained. Will there be regression?
An analysis of cases followed after, in some cases, 20 years after treatment, found the following characteristic at the end of therapy to increase the probability that the changes will be stable:
Based on the data of my qualitative follow-up survey, I am advocating a different position of the therapist from what is customary. Treatment characteristically ends when the problem is resolved and the client and family are satisfied. In this alternative perspective the therapist sees his or her jurisdiction as continuing until the family changes are supported by the broader social system.
While this is a new position for clinicians it is by no means not logical. The broader the support for a system be it social movement or ship that is built so that every system has an identical duplicate in case of failure only increases the odds of stability. So it is with family systems that are often buffed by development and social changes that the broader their supports, the more stable they will remain in the face of these pressures.
I believe that this is an important perspective. There is considerable follow-up literature that supports the effectiveness of family therapy, especially with adolescent anorectics. This finding specially pin points what the clinician should do to increase the odds of long term success. And what families and sufferers should expect from their treatment!