MST-EA is a manualized treatment that is an adaptation of the evidence-based treatment, Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST). The program serves transition age youth and young adults, aged 17-24, with a serious, diagnosed behavioral health disorder (e.g., mood, anxiety, trauma, psychotic and/or substance use disorder). MST-EA treatment targets are achieved by changing how clients function in their natural settings (home, school, community), leveraging the client’s strengths, pulling in positive supports, and developing the client’s skills and resources to overcome barriers to success. Evidence-based interventions (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral interventions, motivational interviewing, affective education) are used to address treatment needs.
The MST-EA therapist collaborates with the client to design a treatment plan that can be implemented over a 6 to 8-month period. Contact between therapist and client is frequent, sometimes daily (combination of in-person and phone sessions) with a minimum of about 4 hours of direct contact each week. The therapists and supervisor work together to provide 24/7 availability allowing for flexibility in session scheduling and for emergency problem solving with clients and their social network. On average, clients participate in the program from 6 to 12 months.
Clinical services are delivered in the client’s home, work, school, and/or neighborhood at times convenient to the client, with extensive effort devoted to engagement and retention of clients in treatment. The MST-EA therapist also works to secure and collaborate with the clients’ behavioral and somatic healthcare professionals to coordinate efforts around medication management and other healthcare issues.