How do FFt and MST work?

How does FFT work?

FFT works with the family, so the youth and his/her caregivers are present at every session. Consequently, sessions are often held after school and on evenings and weekends. FFT proceeds through five phases of treatment, each designed to reduce specific risk factors and enhance protective factors. Early in treatment, the emphasis is on engaging the family and motivating them to participate in therapy. The therapist then conducts a relational functions assessment of the family, which is used to guide interventions for behavior change. Interventions often include psychoeducation/parent training and communication skills training, with a focus on changing patterns of family interaction that are maintaining the problem behavior. Once change has occurred within the family with respect to the presenting problems, the therapist helps the family generalize their new skills to other problems within the family as well as to situations outside of the home, such as problems that may be occurring at school. The therapist also helps the family develop supports and resources to support lasting change.

How does MST work?

MST can work with the caregivers, youth, or entire family. Sessions can be held with caregivers without the youth present. The therapist empowers the caregivers to intervene in other systems, such as school or the peer domain, throughout treatment. Assessment includes “fit circles” (identifying factors driving the referral behavior) and sequencing of problem situations. MST draws from a range of research-supported techniques. Interventions are designed to strengthen the family system, as well as relationships both within the family and between family members and others outside the family. Some interventions are behavioral, including strategies such as supervision and monitoring plans, reinforcement of desirable behavior, and sanctioning of undesirable behavior. MST strives to keep the need for formal services upon completion of treatment to a minimum and builds natural supports to help the family maintain their progress.

MST provides a suite of services tailored to the individual youth’s and family’s needs. Alternative treatment models outsource these services, which create an incremental expense for communities.


Logic models for both programs are available at the EPIS website: FFT Logic Model - MST Logic Model