Family based treatments and substance misuse

Some evidence – there is enough evidence to indicate that this can be a helpful treatment option.

You might be offered a family based treatment if: 

  • you have other mental health conditions and/or social difficulties in addition to substance misuse 
  • you need extra social support  
  • CBT doesn’t suit you  

There are a number of different types of family based interventions. You might be offered interventions called:  

  • Multidimensional family treatment (MDFT) 
  • Multisystemic family therapy (MST) 
  • Strategic family therapy  
  • Brief functional family therapy  

The different types of family based treatments have lots of things in common. For example, they all involve working with your family members on how they can support each other and most will include help with problem solving. 

MDFT and MST are the most intensive types of family based treatment and often include one to one sessions with you and the professional, crisis management support and help for you to manage school, college or employment.  

  • MDFT usually involves once weekly family sessions as well as individual sessions between you and your professional. These usually take place over about 12 weeks.  
  • In MST your professional will meet with you and/or your family several times a week according to what you need. MST tends to take place over 3-6 months. 

Strategic family therapy and functional family therapy are less intensive with meetings involving you and your family every one or two weeks for about 3 months.  

Treatments outlined on these webpages may not be available in every local area. It’s important that you discuss with your GP or mental health professional the treatment options available to you. You can also search for services near you on our Youth Wellbeing Directory and find out more about referral processes here.

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