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UK Judge Praises Multisystemic Therapy

Posted by Zoe Ashmore, MST Expert and Lloyd McDonald, MST Supervisor on May 3, 2016

Evidence-based intervention keeps girl at home

Everyone was afraid that the young person would have to be taken into care. Chloe was not attending school. She was using drugs and staying out all night. Recently, she had ended up in the hospital after a night of drinking and drugs. Her caregiver was at her wit's end. But as luck would have it, she and Chloe were about to be referred to a brand-new program in their community—Multisystemic Therapy (MST).

When an MST program begins, it can take some time before anybody notices just how hard everyone is working to help young people and their families. For this young MST team and this family, the opportunity came sooner than most. 


Sandip, a new MST therapist, found herself the center of attention in court. Not that she had done anything wrong. Quite the reverse, in fact. Her dedicated work with Chloe and her family received high compliments from a judge in the U.K.

The judge was very impressed by the caregiver’s account of her experience with the program. He listened as she described the impact the treatment had on their lives. Initially, she didn’t think MST would work for her and her family. She was already at her breaking point, believing the only way out was for Chloe to go into care. Now the caregiver couldn’t believe how much home life had changed. For her, seeing Chloe not so angry all the time made it all worthwhile. She noted that the girl is happier now and better able to manage her behavior. 

Judge: MST empowered the caregiver

The judge recognized the persistence and effort of the MST team that made it possible to engage the family when other services hadn’t. He extended his thanks to the MST team and the social worker for all they had done. The judge acknowledged this case was difficult from the beginning and was impressed with how the carer’s attitude toward how she handled the teenager had changed. He said, “In the past, she was intimidated by her [teenager], but now she is empowered.” He also credited the young woman herself for engaging with MST. The girl was happy Sandip had gotten involved.  

The social worker also saw a big shift in the house, noting that on her last visit, she noticed the relationships had improved significantly and everything was calmer. 

The judge said that “MST had clearly made the difference,” and he commended the community for engaging in an evidenced-based treatment like MST and introducing it into the area. 

The director of children's services, who had experience with MST in a previous role and was instrumental in bringing it to this community, awarded a “certificate of compliment” to Sandip and the MST team. He highlighted their achievements with this family in keeping the young woman living safely at home and out of care.

The team was delighted with this recognition. The team supervisor, who worked as a therapist with another team in the Midlands, said, “It is very nice to see the family getting these results and professionals giving this sort of recognition when MST is just starting off. I am delighted with the certificate of compliment in recognition of everyone’s hard work.”