Multisystemic Therapy Summary

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Multisystemic Therapy (MST) addresses the various systems that play a part in the developmental trajectory of conduct disorder (CD). The theoretical underpinnings of MST’s approach to treatment are rooted in Bronfenbrenner’s social ecology theory. At a foundational level, MST takes an equifinal approach that addresses the transactional nature of the systems at play—microsystem, exosystem, macrosystem, mesosystem, and chronosystem—in externalizing disorders. MST utilizes a variety of interventions stemming from various theories—structural formulations, strategic formulations, social learning theory and cognitive-behavioral theory. These theories are incorporated into Bronfenbrenner’s social ecology theory (Henggeler & Sheidow, 2012). Multisystemic…show more content…
These techniques include joining, reframing, enactment, paradox, and assigning specific tasks. Family therapy techniques are used to increase communication, positive emotions, and cohesion, clarify challenges the family faces, and change the way they interact (Kazdin, 1997). These techniques help assist parents in fostering behaviors in their child as well as decreasing marital challenges that interfere with parent’s interaction with their children. Additional treatments rooted in family systems, such as parent management training (PMT), marital therapy, and problem solving skills training (PSST), are utilized as means of addressing the social ecological context in which externalizing behaviors occur (Kazdin,…show more content…
Although MST has been shown to be effective with the most severe forms of conduct disorder, MST appears to be less effective for youth with callous/unemotional and narcissistic traits (Manders, Dekovic, Asscher, Van Der Laan & Prins, 2013). The developmental processes for these youth might in fact be very different than for youth who do not have these traits, as MST’s decreased efficacy with this population likely illustrates (Frick, 2001; Manders et al., 2013). If MST hopes to be equally effective with conduct-disordered youth who have high levels of callous/unemotional and narcissistic traits, treatments need to take into account these differing pathways (Manders et al.,

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