Family Psychology Mutual

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Empowering families towards a safer and happier future

Information for Families about MST 


What is MST?

MST stands for Multisystemic Therapy. It is an intervention specifically designed for young people with challenging behaviours.


Is it right for me and my family?

MST has been suggested for your family because there are concerns about the behaviour of one or more of your children. MST works with parents, carers and other people who are close to your child. It works best for families who want to achieve change but are finding doing so really difficult.


Does it work?

There is no magic solution but we are very persistent and honest and hope to coach you with new skills so that you can cope with challenging behaviour and make long term changes. There is a lot of research evidence to demonstrate that MST is effective but we cannot guarantee success in every case. A lot depends on working with care and persistence with you through some difficult times. Most of the families say that there have been positive changes for them at the end of the intervention.


What will we be asked to do?

Every family is different and has different needs. We want to work with you to help you with what is difficult for you right know. We would like you to be as open and honest as possible, even telling us if you don’t like what we are suggesting. We will write a safety plan with you to make sure that everyone knows how to be safe in your home. We will then work together with you to design a plan for you and your family to follow so that we can help create long term change.


Who are the Therapists?

Therapists in MST come from a wide range of backgrounds and have specialist training in MST. This means your therapist may have been trained as a psychologist, a social worker, a family therapist or another relevant field.  The specialist training they’ve received in MST helps them find exactly which methods to use when working with your family.


When can I ask for help and how?

If your family is currently open to MST then you can ask for help at any time. This can be done during office hours by contacting your Therapist directly using the contact details provided in your welcome pack.  If they are unreachable, or it’s outside of office hours, then please use the on call number provided in your welcome pack. If your family is not currently open to MST, then please contact a professional currently working with your family and discuss the potential for a referral to MST.


Are you the same as Social Care?

No. MST works closely with Social Care in order to deliver the service and receives referrals from social care. Your MST Therapist (like all professionals working with families and children) must report all potential risks of significant harm to children. It’s important to note that even the MST Therapists that have been trained as a social worker in the past will not be working as a social worker with your family and that the service we provide is not the same as that of a social worker. This means that if the need for a social worker arises then that social worker will need to be provided by Social Care.


Isn’t seeing my Therapist three times a week a bit much?

Although it may be difficult to schedule three sessions per week your MST Therapist will always do whatever it takes to make sure these sessions fit around your schedule.  Since MST cannot be involved forever it is important to ensure that all of the sessions are attended in order to make sure your family’s goals are met by the end.  We don’t want these sessions to be a burden for your family. We want them to be a relief. If you’re finding the sessions difficult please tell your Therapist or contact our office to discuss.


Can I re-arrange an appointment?  

Absolutely.  We realise that sometimes life happens in a way that interrupts even the best of plans.  We will always be as flexible as possible for you.  Rearranging is always better than cancelling.


Can we go on holiday during the treatment?

Yes you can. Many families go on holiday during treatment, particularly in the summer months.  We advise that this happens once your child’s behaviour settles. This is so that your holiday is more enjoyable. If you have a holiday scheduled in the first few weeks of treatment please tell your Therapist as soon as possible, as this may mean that it could be better to begin treatment upon your return. 


How long does it last? 

The maximum length of treatment is 5 months. In some cases there is potential for a case to close earlier, or be extended slightly, in order to meet your family’s needs.


My Therapist is away, who can I call for help?

You should be notified of the name and contact details of a therapist covering for your therapist while they’re away. If this hasn’t happened – please ring the on call phone or our main office number 01480 433815.


How can I make a complaint or give a compliment?

We’re always happy to hear from you. You can contact our main office number, write us a letter or send us an email ( at any time. If your family is currently open to MST you’ll also have the opportunity to provide feedback regularly. A representative from our office will ring you to give you this opportunity and kindly ask you to help us monitor our own standards of practice.  At the end of treatment we will also give you an opportunity to complete a satisfaction survey and provide any other comments.

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Frequently asked questions about MST

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