Gold-standard evaluations of MST research made it evident that the evidence-based therapy should be taken from academia and science journals into the real world.
However, to get the good results of MST therapy with juvenile offenders, the treatment method has to be vigorously followed. MST is a complex intervention that combines aspects of cognitive, behavioral and family therapies. The mental health work force is made up of individuals with many different educational and professional backgrounds, and most of them do not have training in all of these therapies.
Therapists and agencies who want to practice MST can’t just be handed an “instruction manual” and sent out to find youths about to board the bus to juvenile facilities, not if the therapists are going to be effective. They need to be well prepared.
With that in mind, the Medical University of South Carolina licensed MST Services in 1996 to disseminate MST technologies. For more than a decade, MST Services has been training therapists in MST, and surrounding them and their supervisors with support, resources and ongoing coaching.
The overriding goal of MST, its prime directive, is to keep adolescents who have exhibited serious clinical problems—drug abuse, violence, severe emotional disturbance—at home, in school and out of trouble. To reach this goal, MST Services helps providers stay true to the model.
What does MST Services provide?
MST Services works with agencies in states and countries that strive to keep juveniles who have repeatedly gotten into serious trouble from being put in out-of-home placements. It helps organizations and service systems structure a system within which MST programs will be faithfully carried out. Studies have shown that straying from the model translates into poorer results.
In addition to training, MST services supplies assistance in:
- Budgeting and business planning
- Reducing staff attrition
- Quality assurance
- Marketing and public relations
Because MST is not a “learn it and do it for the rest of your life” approach, the continuing support that MST Services provides is crucial to the success of programs. Results are tracked and collectively shared with the greater MST professional community. Therapists working with these very challenging youths and families receive constant feedback, coaching and training.