Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT)

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About This Program

Target Population: Trauma-exposed adolescents aged 13-18 years who experience co-occurring trauma-related mental health problems (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression), substance use problems, and other risk behaviors (e.g., risky sexual behavior, non-suicidal self-injury)

For children/adolescents ages: 13 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 13 – 18

Brief Description

RRFT is an integrative, ecologically informed, and exposure-based approach to addressing co-occurring symptoms of PTSD (and other mental health problems), substance use problems, and other risk behaviors often experienced by trauma-exposed adolescents. RRFT is novel in its integration of these components, given that standard care for trauma-exposed youth often entails treatment of substance use problems separate from treatment of other trauma-related psychopathology. RRFT is individualized to the needs, strengths, developmental factors, and cultural background of each adolescent and family. The pacing and ordering of RRFT components are flexible and determined by the needs of each family and symptom severity in each domain. Substance use (as relevant) and posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms are monitored throughout treatment to help track progress and guide clinical decision making. The average frequency and duration of RRFT depends on the symptom level of each youth, but typically involves 18-24 weekly, 60-90 minute sessions with periodic check-ins between scheduled appointments.

Program Goals:

The goals of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT) are:

  • Reductions in symptoms of trauma-related mental health problems (e.g., PTSD, depression)
  • Reductions in substance use and substance use risk factors (e.g., time spent with substance using peers) and increases in protective factors (e.g., coping skills/distress tolerance, parental monitoring, family activities, prosocial activities, etc.)
  • Improved family communication and cohesion
  • Increased knowledge and skills related to healthy dating and sexual decision making
  • Reductions in risk factors for revictimization

Contact Information

Carla Kmett Danielson, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: MUSC National Crime Victims Research & Treatment Center
Website: www.musc.edu/psychiatry/invictus
Phone: (843) 792-3599
Fax: (843) 792-3388

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2018

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: July 2016