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Multisystemic Therapy® (MST)


Multisystemic Therapy® (MST) is a unique goal-oriented, comprehensive treatment program designed to serve multi-problem youth. It is the only family-focused and community-based treatment program that has been the focus of several major research studies. This therapy approach has demonstrated significant clinical effectiveness for youth with complex emotional, social and academic needs. Multisystemic Therapy emphasizes long-term change that families can maintain following treatment.

Developed at the Medical University of South Carolina's Family Services Research Center, Multisystem Therapy uses treatment strategies supported by research showing that youth who break the law repeatedly and/or abuse illegal substances have difficulties in family relations, school performance, peer relations, or neighborhood and community relations.

Multisystemic Therapy for Youth with Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB) is a clinical adaption of MST that has been specifically designed and developed to treat youth and their families for problematic sexual behavior. Building on the research and dissemination foundation of standard MST, the MST-PSB model represents state-of-art, evidence-based practice uniquely developed to address multiple determinants underlying problematic juvenile sexual behavior.

How the Program Works

Applewood Centers therapists provide a complete functional assessment of the youth in the context of their family, school and community. The therapist seeks to understand the youth's problems and the factors that contribute to those problems. Treatment focuses on helping parents build supportive social networks and empowers parents to address the needs of their child more effectively. The program is most effective in helping youth with chronic, violent, delinquent behavior and those with serious emotional problems, including:

  • Truancy and academic problems
  • Serious disrespect and disobedience issues
  • Aggressive behavior such as fighting and property destruction
  • Criminal behavior
  • Drug and alcohol problems
  • Running away from home

The therapy's interventions are developed with full collaboration of family members and key figures in the youth's life and can include any combination of the following services:

  • Family therapy
  • Individual sessions with parents
  • Chemical dependency treatment
  • Evaluation of the youth's peer network and arranging alternative activities
  • Consultation with schools
  • Coordinating activities with school systems, court and other social service agencies
  • Arranging a psychiatric consultation

Therapy is provided in the home, as well as in neighborhood and community settings. Treatment can be intensive, often including multiple contacts with family and other participants every week. Therapists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For Information

Cuyahoga and Lorain County  216-521-6511

To download a brochure about Applewood Centers Multisystemic Therapy program click here.