Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
1  — Well-Supported by Research Evidence
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About This Program

Target Population: Adolescents 11 to 18 with the following symptoms or problems: substance abuse or at risk, delinquent/conduct disorder, school and other behavioral problems, and both internalizing and externalizing symptoms

For children/adolescents ages: 11 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 11 – 18

Brief Description

MDFT is a family-based treatment system for adolescent substance use, delinquency, and related behavioral and emotional problems. Therapists work simultaneously in four interdependent domains: the adolescent, parent, family, and community. Once a therapeutic alliance is established and youth and parent motivation is enhanced, the MDFT therapist focuses on facilitating behavioral and interactional change. The final stage of MDFT works to solidify behavioral and relational changes and launch the family successfully so that treatment gains are maintained.

Program Goals:

The goals of Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) are:

  • Adolescent Domain:
    • 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
  • Parent Domain:
    • Strengthen parental teamwork
    • Improve parenting skills & practices
    • Rebuild emotional bonds with teen
    • Enhance parents individual functioning
  • Family Domain:
    • Improve family communication and problem solving skills
    • Strengthen emotional attachments and feelings of love and connection among family members
    • Improve everyday functioning of the family unit
  • Community Domain:
    • Improve family member’s working relationships with social systems such as school, court, legal system, child welfare workplace, and neighborhood
    • Build family member capacity to actively reach out to access and actualize needed resources necessary for stress reduction or daily life needs

Contact Information

Gayle A. Dakof, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: MDFT International, Inc.
Phone: (305) 749-9332

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2016

Last CEBC Contact Date: June 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2015

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2010