Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

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Program/Intervention Name

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)


Alcohol and drug use, Delinquency and Criminal Behavior, Family Functioning, Family Support and Placement Stabilization Programs, Parent Engagement, Peer associations/relationships, Social/emotional functioning

Program/Intervention Description

What: Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is an integrated, comprehensive, family-centered treatment for teen drug abuse and related behavioral problems. MDFT focuses on key areas of the adolescent’s life and provides an effective and cost-efficient treatment. How: MDFT provides services to adolescents/youth with the following issues: substance use, delinquency, conduct disorder, school problems, family problems), co-morbid mental health problems, or high risk sexual behaviors. For at-risk and early intervention, therapists typically provide 1-2 sessions per week, with sessions lasting between 45 and 90 minutes. More severe cases will require sessions 1- 3 times per week (average of 2) with each session lasting 45-90 minutes. For all cases, the dose titrates down as the treatment progresses. The dose is more intense in the first third of treatment and is gradually reduced to 1 session per week during the last 4-6 weeks. Recommended duration is 3-4 months for at-risk and early intervention youth and families. 5-6 months for youth with a substance abuse and/or conduct disorder diagnosis.

Intervention Target Population Identified (Age Group)

6-12, 13-17, >17

Program Goals/Outcomes

Address identity formation, improve self awareness, and enhance self-worth and confidence, Develop meaningful short-term and long-term life goals, Improve emotional regulation, coping, and problem solving skills, Improve expressive and communication skills, Promote success in school/work, Promote pro-social peer relations and activities, Reduce drug use and problem behaviors, Improve and stabilize mental health problems.

QIC Target Group

General - 3

QIC Adoption/Guardianship Relevance Levels

LEVEL 5: Other Human Services

QIC level of Evidence

LEVEL 1: Effective and proven by Research

Intervention Web Site/URL

Contact Person/Purveyor

Gayle A. Dakof, Ph.D.


Contact Email

Contact Phone

(305) 749-9332

External Links (Registry/Other Catalog)