Multifamily Group Treatment for Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury


Journal Article

A common clinical problem encountered by clinicians treating veterans who incurred traumatic brain injury (TBI) while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) or in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) is lack of knowledge about TBI on the part of the veterans' family members. Insufficient information can exacerbate marital or family conflict and lead to psychological distress and social isolation for the veteran and family, and suboptimal illness management for the veteran. To address this problem, we adapted Multifamily Group Treatment (MFGT), an evidence-based practice for treatment of serious mental illness (SMI), for treatment of OEF/OIF veterans with TBI and their families. We have implemented the adapted treatment (MFG-TBI) in four groups of veterans and families (N = 20 veterans and 20 family members) across two sites: the Durham VA Medical Center (VAMC) in North Carolina and the JJ Peters VAMC in the Bronx, New York. Adaptations focused on contents and format of the educational components, specification of a protocol for conjugal couples, and the addition of an ecomap to identify support systems during the joining (i.e. assessment) phase, a shorter (9 months) intervention duration, and a more active clinician role including use of motivational enhancement, intersession support, and coordination with other service providers. Biweekly group sessions were supervised and rated for adherence. We illustrate how MFG-TBI both educates and builds problem-solving skills with clinical examples. Suggestions for effective use of problem-solving skills with this population are offered. © 2011 American Psychological Association.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Perlick, DA; Straits-Tröster, K; Dyck, DG; Norell, DM; Strauss, JL; Henderson, C; Close, J; Berger, N; Bonuck, ER; Taber, KH; Kalvin, C; Dolber, T; Cristian, A

Published Date

  • February 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 42 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 70 - 78

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0735-7028

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0022319

Citation Source

  • Scopus