Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Also known as Home Based Therapy, the major goal of MST is to give parents the skills and resources needed to address the difficulties that arise in raising youth with delinquent behaviors. It also seeks to empower youth to cope with family, peer, school, and neighborhood problems. MST is an evidence-based treatment model that strives to promote behavior change in the youth’s natural environment, leveraging the strengths of each system to facilitate change (family, peers, school, neighborhood, organizations.) As an intensive family and community-based treatment model, the focus is on the many causes underlying serious delinquent behavior in youth who are at potential risk for out-of-home placement.

Qualifications Include:
• Youth ages 12–17
• Has multiple arrests/is a chronic offender
• Is deeply involved with delinquent peers
• Is experiencing problems at school or doesn’t attend at all
• Abuses substances (marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, etc.)
• Is currently, or has a recent history of being, a runaway
• Demonstrates, or has demonstrated, physical aggression in more than one setting
• Is covered by Medicaid. MST does not currently take private pay or commercial insurance
• Has at least one adult member of the family willing to take part in services

What Can Be Expected:
• Treatment provided in the home and the community
• Time-limited treatment of 3–5 months
• Therapist available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
• Flexible schedules to accommodate the needs of the family
• Tailored treatments for the unique needs of the family and its members
• Therapists with small caseloads to facilitate multiple weekly sessions if needed

Quick Facts:
MST is a well-validated treatment model with 74 published outcome studies, 140+ peer-reviewed articles, and included over 57,000 families in their studies. Adolescents who were clinically discharged from treatment:
• 54% fewer rearrests
• 75% fewer violent felonies
• 54% fewer out-of-home placements
• 95% reabuse incidents
• 86% able to remain in the home
• 91% report no PTSD

To Initiate Treatment:
Referral Forms


Southwest Family Guidance Center & Institute
has been a licensed MST provider since 2007.