Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is an intensive family- and community-based treatment that addresses the multiple determinants of serious antisocial behavior in juvenile offenders.
MST empowers parents with the skills and resources needed to independently address the difficulties that arise in raising teenagers and to empower youth to cope with family, peer, school, and neighborhood problems. Within a context of support and skill building, the therapist places developmentally appropriate demands on the adolescent and family for responsible behavior.
Multisystemic Therapy views individuals as being nested within a network of interconnected systems that encompass individual, family, and extra-familial (peer, school, neighborhood) factors. MST addresses the multiple factors known to be related to delinquency across the key settings, or systems, within which youth are embedded. MST strives to promote behavior change in the youth’s natural environment, using the strengths of each system (e.g., family, peers, school, and indigenous support network) to facilitate change. It is believed that the focus on the known causes of delinquency, the delivery of services in the natural ecology, and the rigorous, monitored implementation of MST combine to produce positive changes in youths and families.