Multisystemic Therapy Program
Alexander Youth Network provides Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) to adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years and their families. MST is an intensive family- and community-based treatment program that addresses the multiple determinants of antisocial behavior in adolescents. MST is research-focused and outcome-driven. It has proven to be a cost-effective program that aims to decrease the rates of incarceration and out-of-home placements.
The primary purpose of assessments is to understand the “fit” between identified problems and their broader systemic context.
- Therapeutic contacts should emphasize the positive and be strength focused.
- Interventions are designed to promote responsible behavior and decrease irresponsible behavior in families.
- Interventions should be present-focused and action-oriented, targeting specific and well-defined problems.
- Interventions should target sequences of behavior within or between multiple systems that maintain identified problems.
- Interventions should be developmentally appropriate and fit the developmental needs of the adolescent.
- Interventions should be designed to require daily or weekly effort by the family members.
- Evaluation of the interventions is done continuously, with the providers assuming accountability for overcoming barriers to successful outcomes.
- Interventions are designed to promote generalization and long-term maintenance of therapeutic change by empowering families to address the family needs across multiple systems.
MST is a highly supervised and consulted program that uses the Family Preservation Model of service delivery. MST views individuals as being nested within many interconnected systems that include individual, family, peer, and community factors. Services are provided for several hours per week within the multiple systems. The average duration of services is 3 to 5 months. Services are available 365 days per year, with staff being on call 24/7.
Staff aim to meet the ultimate goals of empowering parents with the skills and resources to independently address the difficulties that arise in raising adolescents. Staff also aim to empower adolescents to cope with family, peer, school, and community problems. Staff aim to achieve these goals with the families by providing individual, family, and marital therapy, along with community based services. Goals are formally set through continuous treatment planning and creating weekly intermediary goals. The overarching goals of the MST program are to reduce criminal activity, reduce other types of antisocial behaviors such as drug use and truancy, and achieve outcomes at a cost savings to the communities.
The program consists of 3 therapists and 1 clinical supervisor/program manager. MST is provided by masters-level therapists, who receive on-site supervision by an experienced masters-level and licensed mental health professional. Therapists are selected based upon individual strengths and attributes that will combine well with the program’s principles. Consultation is provided by MST Services in Charleston, S.C. Staff are privileged to provide the level of services that reflect their degree and experience. MST staff are first aid and CPR trained, and have successfully completed 30 hours of MST-specific training. Supervision and consultation occur on a weekly basis.