Multidimensional Family Therapy: A Therapeutic Strategy for Families With Adolescents Diagnosed with Internalizing or Externalizing Disorders
Gaynor, J. River
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Substance use and conduct problems that begin before the age of 15 years result in a multitude of consequences involving the legal system and incarceration. Despite mounting evidence on the importance of the family role, as a whole, delivery of treatment focuses on the individual, with the family and other network members remaining in the periphery, if at all involved. Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is an evidence-based therapeutic strategy recognized and proven to reduce risk and promote protective factors in four domains of an adolescent's life. The benefits of MDFT are that it is more cost effective both as a community based and inpatient treatment, targets a diverse population with co-morbid disorders, improves familial relations resulting in fewer delinquencies and out-of-home placements. This paper provides mental health practitioners with the information they need to make an informed choice about pursuing additional training and integrating MDFT into their clinical practice. Implementation would increase and promote change for families with adolescents seeking drug abuse treatment and resolution of related problems.