Why MST is a Restorative Alternative for At-Risk Youth

Posted by MST Services

AdobeStock_257175288Over the past few decades, the United States’ primary solution for juvenile offenders has been incarceration, or in other words, placement in juvenile correction facilities. However, after many studies, this way of holding troubled youth accountable for their actions may not be the best option for all. The National Conference of State Legislatures states, “Detention that follows arrest of a young person and pending disposition of the case has not only been shown to have negative consequences for some youths, it often is costly and unwarranted for public safety.” Although incarceration is necessary for some juveniles, alternative options can be just as effective, if not more.

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Topics: Juvenile Justice Reform, Multisystemic Therapy

Using Medicaid to Fund Programs for Juvenile Offenders

Posted by MST Services


Nestled on the border between Ohio and Kentucky sits the Ohio River Juvenile Correctional Facility, a high-security juvenile prison where Donald, sixteen years old, was serving a six-month sentence. Donald had been diagnosed with multiple mental health issues prior to sentencing—including psychiatric illnesses and bipolar disorder— but instead of receiving mental health treatment, Donald was held in a correctional facility. At the price of over $300.00 per day—the cost of incarcerating a single young person—Donald’s illnesses began to interfere with his life at Ohio River.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

MST Therapist Helps Family Escape Domestic Violence

Posted by Ruby A., MST Therapist

Hands House Concept

A Bad Situation Becomes Dangerous When Domestic Violence Comes to Light

I was working as a therapist with the Hernandez* family for two months before I started to suspect that there was something else going on. The case originally came in because Manny, a 17-year-old living in the Bronx, was doing drugs, cutting class, violating curfew, and stealing. The family needed Multisystemic Therapy treatment to help navigate these issues and get Manny back on the right path. Little did I know I would soon be treating additional issues—issues beyond Manny’s control.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, Child Welfare

A Letter to Families Beginning MST

Posted by UK MST Parent

A mother counsels others on the benefits of MST

By the time a family enters Multisystemic Therapy (MST), the downhill journey into despair has been going on for a long time. They feel alone and without hope. A mother in the U.K. certainly felt like that.

Her son was violent and threatening. So much so that the mother was relieved when he wasn’t home, even though she didn’t know where he was, who he was with or what kind of trouble he was getting into. Her stomach churned when she heard his key in the door. This was not the way to live. And to top it off, she labelled herself a failure. “I had nothing left to give. I was often tearful and overwhelmed,” she recalled.

Then MST arrived. After completing the program, the mother wrote a letter for families who are embarking on the road in search of real, lasting help for their child through MST. 

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST Success Stories

How MST Achieves Long Lasting Results

Posted by Laurie Spivey

The nine principles of MST ensure that the treatment gains continue

Since becoming involved with Multisystemic Therapy (MST) 13 years ago, I have probably been asked 1,000 times what MST is or what I do. It can be a complicated question to answer only because MST does so many things. We solve problems. We keep at-risk kids at home. We empower good people to be great parents. We make communities safer. We save taxpayer dollars. We champion juvenile-justice reform...honestly, I could go on. 

I am proud of my work and the collective work of MST teams across the globe. While there may have been a few parties or family gatherings at which it would have been nice to provide a shorter answer like “I teach third grade,” I’m glad I do what I do. But perhaps the part that makes me most proud is our treatment generalization.

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

How MST Works in the UK

Posted by Ben Robins

Multisystemic therapists, funders and families from the UK explain how MST works in 5 minutes

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then a video is worth at least a million—maybe more.

If you are a parent, funder, therapist or community stakeholder, you don’t want to miss this video. 


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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

MST Involves the Whole Family in Treatment

Posted by Laura Jurasek

Stella and Paul were losing control of their adopted son, Charlie.

He was becoming violent and affecting the whole family. Luckily, they found a partner to work alongside them and keep their family together.

Stella and Paul have children ranging from age 37 to 12. Their two youngest, Brenda and Charlie, were adopted from foster care and have special needs.

“In our naiveté, we thought, we’re going to adopt these kids and bring them into a loving home. Then, they’d be just like the other kids we have,” said Stella. “But we didn’t realize that at a young age, there’s so much that they already picked up that we can’t change.”

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

Changing Behavior Takes Time and That's True for MST

Posted by Lori Moore

Staying the course with Multisystemic Therapy

Recently, I decided it was time to get healthy. You know when you reach that point in life when some of your behaviors (like eating sugary foods, not exercising daily, etc.) will catch up to you if you don’t make a change? So, I started my “healthy journey.” About two weeks in, my muscles were aching from my intensive workouts (OK, intensive for me), I missed my midday sugar rush, and the water, how could one person be asked to drink so much water? But something told me that even though I hadn’t seen any great gains yet, I was on the right path to better health and shouldn’t give up.

This caused me to pause and think about the people we work with in Multisystemic Therapy (MST)—the youth, their families and the key community stakeholders. 

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

How MST Works: A Video

Posted by Laura Jurasek

A mom and two MST experts share their experiences on how MST works 

Think about how hopeless Michelle felt. Her daughter, Sam, was out of control, and Michelle was out of options. Or so she thought.

After trying many different services and suffering many disappointments, Michelle was doubtful that anything would work. Still, she gave Multisystemic Therapy (MST) a try. 

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy

An MST Therapist is Born

Posted by Sophie Karpf

A childhood dream realized

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut? Studies show that just 6 percent of adults end up in the careers they wanted as kids. Katelyn Jakubovic is part of that 6 percent.

katelyn and lori moore.jpg

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Topics: Multisystemic Therapy, MST Community