Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an empirically grounded family intervention program for dysfunctional and at-risk youth aged 11-18 and their families, including youth with problems such as conduct disorder, violent acting-out, and substance abuse. Youth often also present with additional co-morbid challenges such as depression.
Intervention is conducted in clinic settings, as outpatient therapy, and as a home-based model, including delivery in schools, child welfare, probation, parole/aftercare, and mental health, and as an alternative to incarceration or out-of-home placement. Treatment ranges from, on average, 8-12 one-hour sessions up to 30 sessions of direct service for more difficult situations. Treatment has specific phases that serve to organize intervention in a coherent manner, thereby allowing clinicians to maintain focus in the context of considerable family and individual disruption.
Clinical trials have demonstrated that FFT is capable of effectively treating adolescents with Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorder, alcohol and other drug abuse disorders, and those who are delinquent and/or violent. FFT interrupts the matriculation of these adolescents into more restrictive, higher-cost services, reduces their penetration of social services and the adult criminal system, and prevents younger siblings from entering the system of care.