How Do Family Strengths-Oriented Therapeutic Conversations (FAM-SOTC) Advance Psychiatric Nursing Practice?

Erla Kolbrun Svavarsdottir*, Margret Gisladottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Family nursing interventions, focusing on therapeutic conversations, have been found to benefit primary caregivers dealing with chronic and acute illnesses. Less is known, however, about the benefit of these interventions for partner caregivers. The aims of this study were to develop and test the Family Strengths–Oriented Therapeutic Conversation (FAM-SOTC) intervention for partner caregivers of young individuals with eating disorders (EDs). Methods: Eighteen partner caregivers of adolescents and young adults with ED participated in this quasi-experimental study. The FAM-SOTC intervention was offered over 4 months, during which time the focus was on establishing the therapeutic relationship and identification of the family relationships. The five key elements of the FAM-SOTC intervention are (a) drawing forward illness stories; (b) asking therapeutic questions; (c) identifying strength, resiliency, and resources; (d) offering evidence-based information and recommendations; and (e) strengthening helpful beliefs and challenging hindering beliefs. These elements provided the foundation for the study. Findings: Significantly higher family support and illness beliefs were reported after five sessions of the FAM-SOTC intervention and again after 3 follow-up booster sessions. The FAM-SOTC intervention demonstrated a positive benefit for participants. Clinical Relevance: The FAM-SOTC intervention was found to benefit families, both in the short and long term, in psychiatry settings. After having participated in five sessions of the FAM-SOTC intervention and 3 booster sessions, partner caregivers of young individuals with ED experienced higher family support and reported better knowledge, more confidence, and more positive illness beliefs regarding the disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

The study was funded by grants from the Landspitali–The National University Hospital Research Fund, the Science Fund of the Icelandic Nurses’ Association, the Science Fund of Ingibjörg R. Magnusdottir and Birtan, a fund for children, and adolescents with mental health problems at BUGL (2011; Child and adolescent psychiatric unit). The authors would like to thank all the partner caregivers who participated in the study; we learned so much from their experience and participation. Special thanks go to Thorunn Björg Haraldsdottir for her valuable contribution to this study by participating in the data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Sigma Theta Tau International

Other keywords

  • advanced psychiatry nursing practice
  • Family strengths-oriented therapeutic conversation


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