Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®)?

The BSFT® Program is a short-term, structured, problem-focused, and practical approach to the treatment of conduct problems, associations with antisocial peers, early drug use and the accompanying maladaptive family interactions (relations), all of which are recognized risk factors for substance abuse.

How Does the BSFT® Program Work?

The BSFT® Program is designed to engage and keep the family interested in the program by focusing on the problem behaviors of the at risk youth. The BSFT® Program is delivered in 12 to 16 weekly sessions. The BSFT® Program involves all family members and seeks to change the way they act toward each other. The BSFT® Program provides families with the tools to overcome individual and family risk factors through: 1) focused sessions to improve maladaptive patterns of family interaction, and 2) skills building strategies to strengthen families.

The BSFT® Program was developed and has been conducted at the Center for Family Studies (Miami, FL) since 1978. The Center for Family Studies is the nation’s oldest and most prominent center for development and testing of minority family therapy interventions for prevention and treatment of adolescent substance abuse and related behavior problems. It is also the nation’s leading trainer of research-proven family therapy for Hispanic and African American families.

Who can Benefit from the BSFT® Program?

The BSFT® Program helps children and adolescents, 6 to 17 years old, who exhibit rebelliousness, truancy, delinquency, early substance use, and association with problem peers. The BSFT® Program also benefits families that are affected by poor behavior management, parental discord, anger, blaming interactions, and other problematic relations.

What are Suitable Settings for the BSFT® Program?

The BSFT® Program was developed for use in rural, urban, and suburban settings. It can be implemented in community social services agencies, mental health clinics, substance abuse prevention and treatment clinics, health agencies, and family clinics. The BSFT® Program can also be implemented as a home-based intervention. Because the BSFT® Program works with the whole family, the program usually operates during the afternoons, evenings, and weekends.

How is Adherence to the BSFT® Program monitored?

  • Weekly supervision using DVDs of family sessions
  • Rating of competence by a panel of BSFT® Program experts
  • Training of onsite BSFT® Program supervisors
  • Licensing of providers who follow the BSFT® Program quality assurance procedures for sustainability and fidelity

What is the BSFT® Program emerging program of dissemination?

  • Collaboration with the Hispanic, African American and other communities
  • Designing and implementing culturally sensitive interventions with strategic clinical goals
  • Conducting rigorous research to test the impact of interventions
  • Using our Clinical and Research findings to improve and refine our interventions

Does the BSFT® Program offer introductory workshops?

The BSFT® Program Model Presentation is an overview of the model offered in a 1-day workshop for up to 30 attendees. The Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute can deliver this intro workshop worldwide. It is highly interactive in nature. Please contact us at bsft@med.miami.edu or 305-243-7585 for additional information and to tailor the workshop to your specific situation.

What steps are involved regarding training to competency, program sustainability and licensure?

Training To Competence – Workshops PLUS Supervision: Three 3-day workshops including interactive lectures, DVD demonstrations, clinical case consultation plus weekly group review / phone supervision / feedback of DVDs of BSFT® Program family therapy sessions submitted by trainees. A team of 4 trainees will participate in the supervision process working towards achievement of competency. Group supervision sessions begin after workshop II, last for 2 hours per week and occur for up to 24 weeks over a period of 6 months.

BSFT® Program Competence:

  • Occurs when a therapist has successfully demonstrated a level of competence in the principles of the BSFT® Program as determined by an evaluation of his/her work by the BSFT® Program Competency Panel.
  • Is NOT guaranteed as part of the training curriculum.
  • Can only occur as a result of supervision (of a therapist) by an approved BSFT® Program Trainer.

Training an On-Site Supervisor: A BSFT® Program On-Site Supervisor will be selected and trained to ensure quality and adherence to the model on-site.

Continuing Supervision: Once therapists achieve competence, weekly supervision will be provided by the BSFT® Program On-Site Supervisor and monthly consultation by a BSFT® Program Trainer.

*Adherence Ratings: *Therapists and/or agencies submit DVDs of their work for Adherence Ratings to the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® Institute.

Site Licensing: If it meets all licensing criteria, an agency may be licensed by the University as a BSFT® Program Provider.

To learn more about BSFT® Program workshops, supervision, achieving competency, adherence and licensing, please contact us at 305-243-7585 or bsft@med.miami.edu.