MST model

The goal of MST is to break the cycle of anti-social behaviours by keeping young people safely at home, in school, and out of trouble. MST works to increase the skills and resources of the parents and carers to manage their young person’s behaviours more effectively.
 
MST therapists go to where the young person lives and attends school. This is because there is overwhelming evidence that all the components in a young person's life - family, friends, school and neighbourhood - contribute to serious anti-social behaviour. 
 
MST therapists work intensively with families, meeting with the family and other people in the young person’s life several times a week. MST teams are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Such an intensive service is possible because therapists work with a limited number of families at any given time.
 
Visiting the family in their home and community increases the likelihood that they will successfully engage in MST because appointments are arranged at convenient times and locations making it easier for them to attend.
 
Therapists receive a high level of training and supervision and use approaches, such as behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and structured family therapy to work with young people and their families.
 
In the home and the community
MST works with families and other agencies, such as social work teams and Youth Offending Services, to safely keep young people with their families and in the community. Placing young people out of home in custody or care is usually not effective in reducing their offending or problem behaviour and MST works to prevent this happening where possible by strengthening parents’ skills in keeping their child out of trouble and working to change young people’s behaviour.
 
MST interventions work to:
• increase parents or carers  skills and confidence
• improve family relationships;
• enable  young people to have  positive friendships
• increase young people’s involvement with education and/or training;
• help young people participate in positive  activities, such as sports or after school clubs;
• create a support network of extended family, neighbours and friends to help the parents and carers maintain the changes.
 
Family members collaborate with MST therapists in designing a treatment plan over 3 to 5 months. The plan make sense to the family and builds on the strengths in their lives, which makes it more likely the family will be successful in the future and that any changes made are maintained.  
 
Numerous research studies have proven that the MST approach achieves excellent, long-term results for young people and families. For more information about this research, please visit the MST outcomes section of the website.