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Evidence-Based Programs

At National Counseling Group, we believe in using the most effective practices to help our clients.  

What are evidence-based programs?

Evidence-based programs (EBPs) are techniques that have been put through rigorous testing to ensure the therapy is effective.   By using a variety of EBPs, our therapists can tailor treatment strategies for each client.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

Family Functional Therapy (FFT)

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)


Multisystemic Therapy (MST)

What is MST?

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a unique, goal-oriented and comprehensive treatment program designed to serve 11- to 17-year-old, multi-problem youth in their community at risk of escalating to a higher level of care due to disruptive behaviors and/or substance use.  MST focuses on “empowering” caregivers (parents/guardians) to solve problems while emphasizing long-term change that families can maintain after the program.

Who benefits most from MST?

MST is designed for children ages 11 to 17 who display or are reported to engage in negative behaviors. Our program can help with:

  • Substance (drug/alcohol) use

  • Truancy and academic problems

  • Criminal behavior

  • Serious disrespect and disobedience

  • Aggressive behavior (fighting, property destruction, etc.)

  • Runaways

What makes MST work?

MST includes an emphasis on engagement with the youth's family, caregivers, and natural supports and is delivered in the recovery environment.

  • MST seeks to understand the "fit" between the child's problems and the factors which contribute to them.

  • Youth are observed within their network of systems including: family, peers, school and community.

  • MST helps parents build supportive social networks and empowers parents to address the needs of the youth more effectively.

  • MST is a rehabilitative intervention that can be used to divert higher levels of care and can also be used as a step-down.

Advantages of MST

MST is a home-based model, meaning:

  • MST therapists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are dedicated solely to MST

  • Services are provided in the home, school, and community

  • Therapists have small caseloads, allowing for focused, intensive treatment and weekly contact

Family Functional Therapy (FFT)

What is FFT?

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a highly successful, trauma-informed, and evidence-based family therapy model for at-risk youth, ages 11 to 18.  FFT helps youth reduce disruptive and/or substance using behaviors, establish more  pro-social and functional behaviors, and stay in school.

Who benefits most from FFT?

FFT is designed for at-risk youth, ages 11-18, who have been referred for behavioral, emotional, and/or substance using problems.  FFT has shown lasting improvements in:

  • Behavior and mental health

  • Family conflict and functionality

  • Out-of-home placements

  • Substance use

  • School drop-out rates

  • Sibling disruptive behaviors

  • Criminal recidivism

How does FFT work?

FFT improves individual behaviors by utilizing these phases:

Engagement - Develop the family’s positive perception of therapist and program and
facilitate the family’s willingness to attend the first session.

Motivation - Increase hope and motivation for change while reducing family negativity and
blaming and addressing risk- factors associated with treatment drop-out.

Relational Assessment - Identify relational functions, needs, and hierarchy within the family.

Behavior Change - Build youth and family member skills related to specific referral issues.  Reduce family conflict and address family patterns that maintain the presenting problem

Generalization - Increase family resources and extra-familial support.  Maintain and generalize changes while focusing on relapse prevention.

FFT is a short-term program with an average of 12 to 14 sessions over three to five months.

FFT Outcomes

FFT shows positive outcomes across a wide range of youth and communities and has proven effective as an intervention model.

Research has demonstrated FFT helps youth stay in school, promotes earlier cessation of drug
and alcohol use, reduces disruptive behaviors, and establishes more pro-social and functional
behaviors. Therapists work with families to modify family communication, train family
members to negotiate effectively, and set clear rules about privileges and responsibilities.


Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

What is PCIT?

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a trauma-informed evidence-based treatment to help young children, ages 2-6, with disruptive behavior.  This short-term program focuses on teaching effective discipline techniques and improving the parent-child relationship through a combination of play therapy and behavioral therapy.

Who benefits most from PCIT?

PCIT is for children between the ages of 2 ½ and 6 ½ who display, or are reported to engage in, negative behaviors. It includes one-hour, weekly sessions.  Children that can benefit from PCIT commonly include those who:

  • Have relational problems with parent/caregiver

  • Refuse adult requests/defiant

  • Easily lose their temper

  • Purposefully annoy others

  • Destroy property

  • Frequently fight and/or show aggression toward others

  • Have difficulty staying seated

  • Have difficulty playing quietly

  • Have a history of trauma

Advantages of PCIT

A distinctive feature of PCIT is live, in-the-moment feedback.  Therapists observe caregiver and child interacting and provide live coaching.  Advantages include:

  • Caregivers acquire effective parenting skills rapidly by practicing in the moment with therapist support.

  • Therapists provide immediate feedback to caregivers while observing the child’s challenging behaviors.

  • Therapists provide caring support as caregivers gain confidence and master their skills.

  • The frequency of the child’s positive behaviors increase, while negative behaviors decrease.

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