Evaluating Therapist Competency and Adherence to Behavioral Family Management with Bipolar Patients

Amy G. Weisman, Sumie Okazaki, Jennifer Gregory, Martha C. Tompson, Michael J. Goldstien, Margaret Rea, Davis J. Miklowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study assessed fidelity to the behavioral family management (BFM) model for treating bipolar disorder patients and their families. The BFM Therapist Competency/Adherence Scale (BFM-TCAS) was developed to evaluate clinicians' competency and adherence to BFM, as outlined by Miklowitz' (1989) BFM Manual for use with bipolar patients. Therapist competency and treatment adherence was also evaluated with regard to two family characteristics: overall level of family difficulty and family expressed emotion (EE) status. The BFM-TCAS was used to code 78 videotaped sessions of 26 families with a bipolar member, selected from a larger treatment study of bipolar disorder patients. The findings suggest that, overall, clinicians adhered closely to the BFM manual. Specific areas in which there was high competency and treatment adherence were (a) skill in conveying factual information about bipolar illness, (b) establishment of a therapeutic environment, and (c) ability to take command of therapy sessions. The one area in which there was less compotency and relatively weak adherence to the manual was the use of between-session homework assignments to assist families in mastering the BFM exercises. Results of this study also suggest that, for the most part, therapist competency and adherence ratings were not related to overall level of difficulty or to family EE status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Process
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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