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Strategic Family Therapy and Substance Abuse

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How effective is Strategic Family Therapy when dealing with substance abuse? What type of testing would be used to evaluate its effectiveness?

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What I can say is that Brief Strategic Family Therapy is often the approach that is used to treat adolescents afflicted with substance use; and is based on three principles. The first is that this approach is a family systems approach. That means that the family members are all seen as interdependent on each other and as working together. For example, what affects one family member affects other family members. According to family systems theory, the drug-using adolescent is a family member who displays symptoms, including drug use and related co-occurring problem behaviors.

The second principle this approach is pioneered upon is that the patterns of interaction in the family influence the behavior of each family member. The role of the therapist is to identify how the drug use or problematic behaviors may be the symptoms associated with the family's type of interactions.

Hence, the third principle is to develop treatment interventions that really target ways to modify those patterns of interactions between family members and identify adaptive mechanisms. That also means to treat the substance and addiction problems with supportive mechanisms in place, such as using tenets of motivational interviewing, behavioral therapy, multisystemic therapy, and cognitive therapy.

It is about identifying the problem, developing the relationship, diagnosing the issues, and developing a treatment plan with solid interventions for the entire family. Testing could be done using the MMPIA-A for adolescents, or for the adults, MMPI, I and II, SBI screening or ...

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