Multisystemic therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community based treatment that enriches the family by addressing youth problematic behaviors. The therapy works by tending to factors known to be related to the youth's delinquency across key settings or systems. MST sees the youth as being surrounded by a network of connected systems - their family, their peer group, school and neighborhood.
The ultimate goal of MST is for youth to be on track for life-long success, to remain safely in their natural environment, attend school or work, and no longer be in trouble with the law. MST interventions aim to:
- Maximize caregiver skills and resources needed to effectively address difficulties and challenges
- Enrich family relations
- Improve youth's peer influences
- Improve youth's school or vocational performance
- Engage youth in positive recreational outlets
- Develop a natural support network of extended family, neighbors and friends to help caregivers
MST is facilitated by master's-level therapists who work with families in their home, school and community multiple times a week to achieve positive changes. Treatment is intensive and typically lasts about 3 to 5 months. Our therapists' schedules are flexible to ensure that they can meet around the caregivers' availability, as well as provide support during times of need. Additionally, therapists offer an on-call service, which provides seamless support 24 hours/7 days a week.
Therapists engage those who are involved with the youth's life, and the youth themselves. Therapists work to understand the obstacles that are getting in the way of the youth's success, and then partners with the caregivers, family and other systems to develop and implement interventions to create positive a behavior change.
Caregivers are also supported in finding solutions that work because caregivers are the biggest influences in the youth's life. Caregivers gain skills and resources needed to meet the difficulties that arise when rearing teenagers, and youth gain the skills necessary to cope with family, school and neighborhood problems. MST believes that there is good in people and builds upon these strengths to enhance youth's lives, empower parents and enrich families.