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Multi-Systemic Therapy and Your Family in Treatment

Multi-Systemic Therapy and Your Family in Treatment

Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) has changed millions of lives by addressing the needs of troubled youths within the larger context of family and community

Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is a form of family therapy that combines the most effective elements of several other therapy types into a new model that is firmly based in family and community dynamics. MST addresses the wide-ranging issues that affect young people who exhibit chronic tendencies toward violent crime and substance abuse by examining the larger-scale dynamics at work around them. The treatment involves a series of sessions that include all members of the family and involve teachers, neighbors, and friends. The premise at the heart of MTS is that the problems that cause a juvenile to become apathetic and rebellious are community-based and not limited to the individual. A mounting body of evidence, and the endorsement of numerous law-enforcement, judicial, and clinical professionals, suggests that this way of addressing at-risk youth is highly effective.

What Is Multi-Systemic Therapy?

Originally developed by the Family Services Research Center of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, MST combines the most effective elements of the following therapeutic techniques into an intensive, evidence-based, psychosocial treatment regimen:

  • Structural Family Therapy
  • Strategic Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Behavior Management Training
  • Community Psychology

Specially trained and certified MST therapists work very closely with the entire family of the troubled young person – often becoming a virtual member of the family for the purpose of identifying breakdowns in roles, communication, boundaries, trust, and discipline. From the very beginning of treatment all parties are involved and encouraged to collaborate and invest in the success of the work. Through group meetings and corresponding individual homework everyone involved is enabled to see where the breakdowns are happening and how to repair them. The therapist, with the cooperation and input of the family members, establishes clear goals for the process and works strategically to keep that process on track.

According to the official website of MTS Services, over 30 years of practice and 18 studies have shown that the efficacy of MTS is demonstrated in the following observations:

  • Kids are kept in their homes instead of being removed by family services up to 50 percent of the time
  • Kids stay in school
  • Re-arrest rates reduce up to 70 percent
  • Family relationship and function improves
  • Adolescent psychiatric symptoms are reduced
  • Drug and alcohol abuse is reduced

According to the Cochrane Collaboration MTS has not been shown to be more effective than other variants of this type of family intervention therapy, but nor has it been associated with any negative effects. Anecdotal evidence, however, is mounting that suggests that there is something special about MTS for many families.

How Can MST Impact Your Family?

Most families experience some sort of dysfunction. Parents may wrestle with how to effectively set and enforce rules. Temper problems may cause children to resist the input and leadership of their mother or father. Inconsistencies in the administration of rules may undermine the authority parents are supposed to have. When a young person acts out it may cause a parent or sibling to lash back at them in anger. In many cases these ineffective behaviors and others like them feed each other in a sort of vicious cycle. The following are just a handful of the most common symptoms of this kind of systemic family dysfunction:

  • Gang activity
  • Criminal behavior
  • Violence toward parents
  • Reckless sexual activity
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Running away
  • Withdrawal

The good news is that millions of families exhibiting most or all of these symptoms have been able to re-establish harmony and health through MST and other forms of family therapy. With the right help young people no longer feel drawn to drugs or gangs and parents cultivate consistent, loving boundaries with reasonable enforcement.

24 Hour MST Helpline

If you or a loved one in Louisville is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and would like more information about Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) please call our toll-free helpline today. Our staff members are standing by 24 hours a day with the following free services:

  • Confidential answers to all of your questions about MST
  • Referral to the most effective and successful MST program in your area
  • Confirmation of insurance coverage for therapy costs
  • Information about utilizing MST in court-mandated treatment
  • Explanation of the relationship between MST and addiction treatment
  • Help with transportation to treatment or other logistical needs

If you feel that your child has become completely unmanageable or even dangerous, please call now. The exciting opportunity presented by this unique and powerful therapy is that it not only helps the troubled individual at the heart of your family’s drama. All members of you household and Louisville community will benefit from the empowering healing this type of therapy can bring.

There are no strings attached and the call is completely free. You have nothing to lose. Call now and let us help you take the first steps toward the healing your family needs.

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