Multisystemic Therapy (MST)
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Model Information

  • MST Logic Model 
  • MST & FFT: What's The Difference?New - This Frequently Asked Questions document provides information about the similarities and differences between the MST and FFT models on issues such as target population, theoretical underpinnings, outcomes, intensity and length of treatment, and cost-benefit, among others.
  • "Unlocking Justice" - This documentary, produced by The Sentencing Project, features three programs that offer effective alternatives to incarceration, and features a Pennsylvania MST provider. It is part of a longer video, scroll down and select "Unlocking Justice" at the bottom of the viewing window to watch the program specific content.  MST is the last program featured.

MST Outcomes

  • Pennsylvania-specific Outcome Reports 
  • Comprehensive Publication List - MST Services provides highlights of research findings, a link to its comprehensive overview of 26 published outcome studies, and 2010 outcomes from MST teams around the world.
  • Washington State Pilot Project - In 2007, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services began a pilot project aimed at providing evidence-based mental health services to children and selected Multisystemic Therapy (MST) as the first program for implementation. This report presents characteristics and outcomes of the youth who received MST as part of the pilot project over a 3-year period. 

Provider Resources

 DPW-Related Resources for FFT, MST, and MTFC Programs

  • Starting Services Quickly - A resource for MST providers and stakeholders who are looking to decrease wait time for at risk youth and families.
  • Click on the link above for resources related to Special Grant funding, accessing and utilizing M.A. funding (including Frequently Asked Questions, key contacts, and a list of Health Choices Behavioral Health Primary Contractors), and the Juvenile Justice Systems Enhancement Strategy. These resources are Pennsylvania-specific. 

  • MST and D & A-Questions and Answers - Guidelines developed by the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse regarding the use of MST with youth who also present with substance use.    

  • Prescribing for MST New - An article published in The Pennsylvania Psychologist (May 2011) that provides an overview of the MST model and the target population. Written for psychologists and psychiatrists conducting BHRS evaluations. 

MST-Contingency Management New

  • Frequently Asked Questions about MST-Contingency Management, an adaptation of MST that focuses on addressing substance use problems.

 

 Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family and community-based treatment that addresses the multiple determinants of serious antisocial behavior in chronic, violent, or substance abusing male or female juvenile offenders, ages 12 to 17, at high risk of out-of-home placement. The multisystemic approach views individuals as nested within a network of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family, and extra-familial (peer, school, neighborhood) factors.   Intervention may be necessary in any one or a combination of these systems.  The primary goals of MST programs are to decrease rates of antisocial behavior and other clinical problems, improve functioning (e.g., family relations, school performance), and promote behavior change in the youth’s natural environment.  These outcomes are achieved at a cost savings by reducing the use of out-of-home placements such as incarceration, residential treatment, and hospitalization. The ultimate goal of MST is to empower families to build a healthier environment through the mobilization of existing child, family, and community strengths and resources. The typical duration of home-based MST services is approximately 4 months, with multiple therapist-family contacts occurring weekly. MST addresses risk factors in an individualized, comprehensive, and integrated fashion, allowing families to enhance protective factors. Specific treatment techniques used to facilitate these gains are based on empirically supported therapies, including behavioral, cognitive behavioral, and pragmatic family therapies.  Proven outcomes of MST include: 

  • reduced long-term rates of criminal offending in serious juvenile offenders,
  • reduced rates of out-of-home placements for serious juvenile offenders,
  • extensive improvements in family functioning,
  • decreased behavior and mental health problems for serious juvenile offenders,
  • favorable outcomes at cost savings in comparision with usual mental health and juvenile justice services,
  • decreased recidivism and arrests.

National Site: Multisystemic Therapy