Alessandra Longo

Recent Posts

A First Timer to the MST International Conference Reflects on MST

Posted by Alessandra Longo

Getting rejected from traditional therapy jobs was the best thing that could have happened to this MSTer

I frequently think back to my job search right out of graduate school. Two years of training as a social worker and a third year gaining extra knowledge in children’s developmental psychology left me eager to serve the most vulnerable. Interviewing for various outpatient mental-health clinics left me feeling discouraged. I still find it hard to forget feedback I received after one interview that boiled down to, “I’m afraid you’re too positive for this position.”

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Topics: MST Community

Giving Thanks to MST Families

Posted by Alessandra Longo

On Thanksgiving, Alessandra Longo takes a moment to reflect on her work

When I think about the things for which I’m thankful, one thing that immediately comes to mind is how thankful I am for the fulfilling work that I love. 

What follows exemplifies why I find my work with MST families so rewarding.

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Topics: MST Success Stories

Evidence-Based Principles Help Mom Gain Control

Posted by Alessandra Longo

Giving a mother hope using MST principle four 

Ms. Mitchell always answered the door in pajamas with a cup of half drunk tea in her hand. She would usher me into her living room and approximately 10 minutes into every session would chide herself for forgetting to offer me a cup. We sat in our respective chairs—me facing the window and she keeping a diligent eye on the clock above my head to remind her of the day’s approaching work shift. These were the things that never changed throughout treatment. We cherished our routines, greetings and small familiarities to counter the challenge of raising a young person with persistent challenging behaviors that led to his involvement in the child-welfare system.

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Topics: MST Success Stories

How MST Breaks Down Barriers to Treating Families

Posted by Alessandra Longo

Identifying an individual solution for each family

"I don't know what to do with her anymore." Ms. Martinez and I sat knee to knee on her black vinyl couch. "Maybe she would be better off living somewhere else. A place where she has lots of rules."

Ms. Martinez's words may have seemed callous but sending her daughter away appeared to be the only viable option to keep her safe. I placed my clipboard on the seat next to me and looked at her face. "I know how overwhelming this all seems right now. We know Gabriela is using drugs, not going to school and may be involved in a gang. Sending her away might make some problems go away temporarily but what will happen when she comes home to the same environment? I think we have a better chance of helping Gabriela by looking at all the pieces of the puzzle." Finding_the_fit_image

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

Engaging Families is the Bedrock of MST

Posted by Alessandra Longo

knocked on a family’s door. The mother answered, simultaneously shoving the dog aside with her foot and pushing a stack of papers into my hands. Her hair looked rumpled and she wore the same blue t-shirt from the day before.  

Bronx_Cityscape010“Miss  Longo, the system is broken!” she shouted up at me. I looked at the papers and noted her welfare case had been closed again. The family’s entitlements would be suspended until she endured another full day battle just to begin the process of reapplication. I could feel her looking at me expectantly. My eyes met hers and I raised one side of my mouth in shared disappointment. “Frustrating,” I said. “I wish you didn’t have to go through the whole process again.”

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy