It could be said that MST Services had its origins back when Dr. Scott Henggeler was getting his Ph.D. at the University of Virginia in the mid-1970s. He was hired by the state’s Department of Pediatrics to work with antisocial children and was given some of the most difficult cases.
After working with them for a while—and making little progress—Dr. Henggeler decided to visit the adolescents in their homes. “It took me 15 to 20 seconds,” he recalls, “to realize how incredibly stupid my brilliant treatment plans were.” He saw that he needed to treat the children in the full context of their lives, to see them where they lived, went to school, hung out.
In 1992, the Family Services Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina was formed to pursue the development, validation and dissemination of treatments for youth with serious clinical problems.
At the center, Dr. Henggeler and his team continued their studies of MST, which brought into bear his experience of taking therapy to the adolescents instead of taking the adolescents to the therapy. This meant clinicians would go to not only their homes and families, but also to their schools, teachers, neighborhoods and friends.
As word of MST’s research successes spread, more communities wanted to use it. However, to get results similar to the research, the treatment model could not vary from the clinical trials. That meant providers would need assistance in setting up and carrying out MST properly.
This need led to the formation in 1996 of MST Services, a university licensed organization for the dissemination of MST. MST Services offers comprehensive assistance with the full development of MST programs by providing program start-up assistance, initial and ongoing clinical training and program quality assurance support services. MST Services grants license agreements to MST programs and provides program development and training services in MST worldwide.