Serious Emotional Disturbance in Children and Adolescents : Multisystemic Therapy book cover
1st Edition

Serious Emotional Disturbance in Children and Adolescents
Multisystemic Therapy

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ISBN 9781572307803
Published September 26, 2002 by Guilford Press
260 Pages


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Book Description

Originally developed to treat antisocial behavior, multisystemic therapy (MST) has emerged as a leading evidence-based treatment for serious emotional disturbance in children and adolescents. This clearly written manual presents the MST approach to working with this challenging population. Delineated are ways to develop and implement collaborative interventions to connect children and families to treatment and support networks, manage psychiatric emergencies, improve family functioning, and build needed social and educational skills. Special topics covered include the role of pharmacological interventions and the need for community-based safety plans for high-risk youths. Featuring a wealth of case material, the manual is extensively documented with findings from controlled outcome studies. It will be a valuable resource for mental health practitioners, agency administrators and caseworkers, clinical researchers, and students training in the use of evidence-based mental health treatments.

Table of Contents

Part I: Essential Clinical Processes
Chapter 1. Introduction to Multisystemic Therapy
Chapter 2. MST Principles and Process
Chapter 3. Family Interventions and Building Indigenous Family Supports
Chapter 4. Social System Interventions: Service System, School, and Peer
Part II: Adapting MST to Treat Youths with Serious Emotional Disturbance
Chapter 5. Addressing Psychiatric Emergencies: Staffing, Assessment, and
Intervention Protocols
with Susan G. Pickrel
Chapter 6. MST-Based Continuum of Care
Chapter 7. Case Examples
Part III: Outcomes, Ongoing Research, and Program Development
Chapter 8. MST Outcomes and Ongoing Research
Chapter 9. MST Quality Assurance: Promoting Effective Implementation in the Field

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Scott W. Henggeler, PhD, is retired Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was founding Director of the Family Services Research Center (FSRC) from 1992 to 2012. The mission of the FSRC is to develop, validate, and study the dissemination of clinically- and cost-effective mental health and substance abuse services for children with serious clinical problems and their families. Under Dr. Henggeler's leadership, the FSRC received the Annie E. Casey Families Count Award, GAINS Center National Achievement Award, and the Points of Light Foundation President’s Award in recognition of excellence in community service directed at solving community problems. Dr. Henggeler has received several research and education awards from national organizations, including being named one of "the twelve people who saved rehabilitation" by the American Society of Criminology. Dr. Henggeler has published 10 books and more than 280 journal articles and book chapters. He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and has been on the editorial boards of more than 10 journals.

Sonja K. Schoenwald, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and Associate Director of the Family Services Research Center.

Melisa D. Rowland, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and Medical Director of the Family Services Research Center.

Phillippe B. Cunningham, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and Assistant Director of Training of Multisystemic Therapy at the Family Services Research Center.


Youth with serious emotional disturbance and their families have been relatively ignored in the literature, in part because of the complexity of the social, environmental, and clinical conditions that tend to characterize their lives. This book fills a huge gap by describing in clear, cogent, and compelling terms an ecologically grounded intervention model for this population. The authors describe how, when, and why the MST approach can be applied in work with psychiatrically impaired youth, the modifications and refinements that enable it to be tailored to the unique needs of each individual, and the processes a therapist must put in motion to ensure optimal outcomes. The book also describes what has been learned from the results of a rigorous trial of MST with this population. This book is written for therapists and those who train therapists. It is a crucially important text for social work training programs, as well as programs in clinical and counseling psychology, health psychology, and medicine.--Kimberly Hoagwood, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

This long-awaited text presents one of the most promising and important advances in child and adolescent treatment over the past 30 years. Multisystemic therapy (MST) has a solid empirical and scientific basis, and an ever-growing body of new research support. For youth with multiple comorbid disorders, MST represents a departure from traditional outpatient and inpatient models of service delivery, allowing treatment to occur in natural ecological settings. Written in a clear, comprehensible style, this book describes how to engage families in treatment, identify obstacles to success at various levels of the systems hierarchy, and overcome these obstacles while providing evidence-based interventions. This is a 'must read' for anyone working with youth with serious emotional disturbance and their families. It will be highly instructive for both graduate-level students and practicing clinicians.--Russell A. Barkley, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Multisystemic therapy (MST) has already demonstrated effectiveness for youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Now the developers of this innovative intervention have ventured forward to a further challenge--adapting and testing MST for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Not unexpectedly, MST, as a comprehensive and home-based intervention, is showing strong promise for those youth requiring intensive mental health care in the community. This fine new text is a priority for anyone who cares about outcomes for such youth, including practicing mental health professionals and practitioners-in-training. It may serve as a text in graduate-level courses across the helping professions, including psychology, child psychiatry, social work, and psychiatric nursing.--Barbara J. Burns, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University School of Medicine

The clinician, scientist, program director, and graduate student will all benefit from carefully reading this manual. The MST approach is empirically based, effective, realistic, and ecologically and culturally sensitive. The book describes how to build collaborative partnerships with caregivers, support improvement in parenting practices, work within an effective mental health team, and most importantly, keep traumatized children safe, sane, and in caring communities.--Thomas J. Dishion, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Oregon

Coming at a time when it is urgently needed, this volume by Henggeler et al. provides definitive information on what is perhaps the single most promising form of mental health treatment available for disturbed youth today. While not intended to replace formal MST training, this volume will be invaluable for mental health practitioners, students, policy makers, researchers, and others who want to understand how MST can be applied to emotional and behavioral disorders in youth--Peter S. Jensen, MD, Department of Child Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons