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MST CAN in the Netherlands - a short film

From MST Services "In The Loop - Issue 2" 27th May 2017


The mission of Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) is to maintain the family unit while keeping children safe from physical abuse and neglect. It also focuses on reducing the mental health difficulties that often affect these families—children and adults. But we can’t start the treatment if we can’t engage the families. If they won’t open the door—literally.

There are many reasons parents may not be eager to meet with the MST-CAN therapist. With child protection services involved, many fear that the therapist is there to provide information that child protection services will use to remove their children from their home. The family may have had negative experiences with treatment providers in the past and are afraid that the MST-CAN therapist will take the same negative approach. Others may be suffering from mental health problems or abusing substances. They are apprehensive that should this come to light, they will be judged as unable to care for their children. In the midst of these struggles, MST-CAN therapists must be creative in engaging families while keeping everyone safe and encouraging them to make difficult changes in their lives. 

One of those creative stories is told in this short video, "MST-CAN Opens Closed Doors," which was filmed by an MST-CAN team in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The story begins with a therapist struggling to engage a family at the beginning of treatment. She had been to the home many times, leaving notes asking the parent to call her. One afternoon when the therapist was attempting to contact the parent again, she learned that the parent was very ill with the flu. The therapist went home and cooked her favorite recipe for soup and wrote a card expressing her concern for the parent. She left the soup on the doorstep. A few days later, the mother called and invited the therapist to meet with her. Thus began the family’s journey to a healthier, happier environment for everyone.