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Brief Strategic Family Therapy

Family Therapy Training Institute of Miami
1221 Brickell Ave.
Miami, FL 33131
Contact Information
Olga E Hervis

Program Specifications


Prevention, Intervention

Age/Grade Level:

Elementary, Middle School, High School




African-American, Hispanic

Target Settings:

Inner City

Target Groups:


Other Participation Criteria:



Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) adopts a structural family systems framework to improve children and adolescent behavior problems by improving family interactions that are presumed to be directly related to the child's symptoms. BSFT is a short-term, problem-focused, family-based intervention with an emphasis on modifying maladaptive patterns of interactions. Therapy is based upon the assumption that each family has unique characteristics that emerge when family members interact, and that this family "system" influences all members of the family, thus the family is viewed as a whole organism. The repetitive interactions, or ways in which family members interact and behave with regard to one another can be either successful or unsuccessful. BSFT targets these interaction patterns that are directly related to the youth's behavior problems and establishes a practical plan to help the family develop more effective patterns of interaction.

Program Descriptors Include:

Attendance/Truancy, Behavior Management/Discipline, Family/Parental Involvement, Substance Abuse, Life Skills Training

Program Rating:

Moderate Evidence

Starting Year:


Students Served Per Year:

less than 50

Last Verified:

July 1st, 2020

Strategies for Locating Students:


Reenrolled Students with Disabilities:


Risk Factors

Program addresses the following:

Individual Factors

  • Has a learning disability or emotional disturbance
  • High-risk peer group
  • High-risk social behavior
  • Misbehavior

Community Factors

  • Family composition/socioeconomic status
  • Youth social attitudes

Protective Factors

Program promotes the following:


  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Clear social norms


  • Social competencies


  • Problem-solving skills


  • High expectations by community, family, school, and self

Program Resources

Annual Cost:

The annual cost range of the program is less than $25,000 or less than $500 per student.

Funding Sources Include:


Program Staff Includes:

Counselors, Social Workers

Materials Used:

Supporting/Partner Organizations:

Evaluation Information

Description of Program Impact:
Three studies tested the efficacy of BSFT in increasing family participation in therapy in randomized trials in several diverse communities. While adolescents in comparison groups showed no significant changes, BSFT adolescents showed reduced association with antisocial peers, reduced substance use, particularly marijuana, and reduced acting-out behavioral problems.

How Evaluation Data Was Collected:
Data collected and analyzed at state or organizational level

Additional Evaluation Information: