Emerging Minds

Family Talk

About the course

Family Talk is a strength-based family intervention that aims to promote resilience and prevent the emergence of adverse outcomes in children of parents with depression, anxiety and related disorders. The intervention is based on the 'Family Talk' intervention by Professor William Beardslee and colleagues, conducted in the USA.1

The Family Talk intervention aims to support families to develop a shared understanding of the impact of depression/anxiety on the family, and to develop strategies that strengthen child and family wellbeing.

This course will introduce you to:

  • the core principles of the Family Talk intervention
  • the structure of the Family Talk intervention
  • the impact of parental depression and anxiety on children and families. 



About Family Talk

This module will introduce you to the principles of the Family Talk intervention, its core elements and stages.

Introducing Family Talk

This module introduces Session One of the Family Talk intervention.

Building Understanding

This module introduces Session Two of the Family Talk intervention.

Dialogue with the child

This module introduces Session Three of the Family Talk intervention.

Partnering with Parents

This module introduces Session Four of the Family Talk intervention.

Resilient Families

This module introduces Session Five of the Family Talk intervention.

Enabling the future

Session Six of the Family Talk intervention is conducted with parents, and follows up on the family meeting.

Who is this course for?

This course is for:

  • Experienced clinical mental health professionals.
  • Appropriately trained psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, general practitioners and psychiatrists.

Learning aims/outcomes

Following completion of this course you should be able to:

  • explain the impact of depression and anxiety on children and families 
  • reflect on the core principles that are applied in the Family Talk intervention
  • describe each stage of the Family Talk intervention
  • introduce the Family Talk intervention to families where a parent is experiencing depression or anxiety.
  • link psychoeducational information about depression, anxiety and resilience with parents' lived experiences
  • reflect on the importance of children’s involvement, and documenting their experience living with a parent with a mental illness, when working with parents with depression and anxiety
  • consider your role in supporting families to start developing a shared understanding of depression/anxiety1 .


This course features videos of fictional parents and family scenarios. As you work through the course, it is important to be aware of your own emotional responses. Please follow the self-care tips below and seek help if needed:

  • We do not recommend undertaking the entire course in one sitting. Give yourself some breaks. Even if you don’t feel that you need a break, it’s a good idea to take one anyway and come back later. 
  • Be aware of your emotions as you progress through the course, and take action if you are starting to feel stressed or upset. For example, consider taking a break and doing something for yourself that you enjoy.
  • Be aware of your emotional responses after you complete the course.

If at any point you find you are struggling, please talk with your supervisor, seek help, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or SANE Australia on 1800 18 7263.


  1. Beardslee, W.R., et al., Hope, Meaning and Continuity: A program for helping families when parents face depression. 2004

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