Multisystemic Therapy

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a home-based treatment approach that can be used for problem analysis and intervention with adolescents who exhibit problem behaviour. Emphasis is placed on promoting behaviour change in the youth’s natural environment.

Although MST is partially rooted in traditional family therapies, there are several important differences between MST and other family therapy approaches. The MST approach is based on the belief that the youth is intertwined within a series of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family, and extra familial (peer, school, neighbourhood) factors. Antisocial problem behaviour is perpetuated by interactions within one system, or among a combination of these systems. MST draws its strength from applying problem focused interventions within the family and all other systems as needed. MST focuses on child development variables and incorporates interventions that are not systemic, such as cognitive behaviour therapy. Cognitive behaviour therapy, incorporated into the MST program, teaches children greater self-control, reflectivity, and problem solving skills in academic and interpersonal situations. Emphasis is placed on thinking and planning before acting.

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