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What Exactly is Multisystemic Therapy (MST)?

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

COR Therapeutic Services is made up of over forty amazing, empathetic, and intelligent mental health and family services providers. Amongst these providers is a close knit, specialized team composed of five individuals who we want to tell you a little bit more about. These five therapists are specialized in Multisystemic Therapy (MST). The first question that probably comes to mind is what the heck is MST? By definition MST is an intense, family-focused and community-based treatment program for juveniles with serious criminal offenses. Therapists work in the home, school, and community and are on call 24/7 to provide caregivers with the tools they need to transform the lives of troubled or at-risk youth. Research demonstrates that MST reduces criminal activity and other undesirable behavior. At the close of treatment, 87% of youth have no arrests. MST also features, by far, the largest body of evidence of successful interventions for high-risk youth.

So why is this something we are so passionate about here at COR Therapeutic Services? First, because while the work may be challenging, we also see impressive results. Our MST therapists have had the privilege to watch families make considerable changes, as well as, see at-risk juveniles learn to respond positively and respect the expectations within their ecologies. Due to the intensive hours spent with our families, we get to build significant trusting relationships not only with the juveniles, but with their caregivers, as well. When asking one of our MST Therapists, Cristy Brooks, why she loves being an MST therapist she responded by saying, “One of my favorite things about being an MST therapist is that we get to treat the family and environment instead of just the youth. When you follow the model, you look beyond the behavior to the reasons why the behavior started in the first place. We also get to help stakeholders understand family members and see them as people who need support and guidance.”

However, one of the main reasons our therapists love being part of the MST team, is just that, it’s a team. We work incredibly closely with one another, completing supervision and consultation with our MST supervisor and MST expert each week. We provide support and understanding for one another when our cases becoming challenging and there is never a time when we can’t reach out to another team member with questions, guidance, or just a listening ear when we need to vent. Just as we leverage resilience in the clients we serve, we also have found resiliency in our team and lean on each other’s strengths when the going gets tough. I would venture to say, I speak for everyone in saying that our comradery as a team is one of our favorite parts about being an MST therapist. At the base of our team is a strong foundation of our “extended” team, the collective stakeholders in our communities, who celebrate, support and advocate just as hard for the youth and families, knowing the best investments we can make are those who hold our future.

At the end of every day as an MST therapist, you get the privilege to know that you are changing family’s interactions, how they communicate with one another, and helping steer juveniles in a positive direction. While the work may not always be easy, it is almost always rewarding, and we have an amazing team to celebrate the wins with, which for our team…that typically means tacos and queso!

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” - Gandhi

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Abbie Rowley
Abbie Rowley
Sep 27, 2022
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