BSFT® Program News : 2014 : April

Touchstone Behavioral Health Continually Strives For Excellence

For the past 11 years, Touchstone has implemented the Brief Strategic Family Therapy® (BSFT®) model to apply evidence-based services to families at risk for abuse and neglect or using drugs. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Touchstone is the oldest running BSFT program provider. The BSFT program was initiated at Touchstone in 2003 and has continued to serve families using the BSFT model.

Under the leadership of Timothy Dunst, President and Steve Ginsberg, Chief Executive Officer, Touchstone’s mission is to “partner with youth and their families to provide evidence-based services and support to help them acquire the skills to live productive and responsible lives.”

In collaboration with the BSFT Institute, Touchstone has also implemented Functional Family Therapy (FFT) and Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) programs. “We use the program that is the best fit for the present need,” said Ginsberg. Ginsberg goes on to say that fidelity to the model is not only a must, but fidelity is also needed to prove that the model works. Based on the referrals received, Touchstone’s approach is to search for Evidence-Based Programs (EBPs) and utilize the program that best fits that referral need. When asked about the benefits of the BSFT program, Ginsberg replied, “The BSFT program is reasonably priced, offers flexibility, and it gives Touchstone what it needs.”

Touchstone Team
From left to right: Peter Dangerfield, Elia Simon, Tricia “Trish” Nealon, Churice Westbrook, and Presciliano Valdez Beltran.

Touchstone’s strategy for sustaining the BSFT program over the past decade is their core belief in evidence-based programs. When asked what advice he would give to an agency implementing a new BSFT program, Ginsberg provided the following tips:
• Stick to it and stick with it.
• Do not be discouraged.
• Do not revert to the old ways.
• Inform the community.
• Share your results.

As Touchstone persevered, the drive was to show positive results through EBPs. Although the challenges were present, the successes were prevalent as Touchstone provided the BSFT intervention to families and those families improved.
The BSFT Therapists at Touchstone have a positive attitude to the program. Therapists used BSFT specialized engagement techniques to engage families who needed sessions. Because of the staff’s belief in the program, this attitude set the standard for the success of the program with the evidence clearly seen in the positive outcome of families.

Tricia “Trish” Nealon, a therapist present since the inception of the BSFT program in 2003, provided insight on the success of the BSFT model. “Success is achieved by reframing, decentralizing, empowering parents, and working closely with case managers.”

Other challenges were faced as well. “When family focused, all parties are involved, but if all are not involved, then the program fails,” said Westbrook whose challenge was to encourage and to push for family involvement. Under the guidance of Elia Simon, On-Site Supervisor, Westbrook accepted the challenge to engage families according to the guidelines of the model. In doing so, the breakthroughs became obvious as families work together and find peaceful resolutions to problems. “If not us, then who?” said Dangerfield who understands the commitment to the family unit as well as a commitment to teamwork.

“We are not going anywhere!” said Ginsberg. We are committed to success through the continued use of the BSFT program. We are committed to teamwork and committed to the empowerment of families. This commitment has contributed to the success of Touchstone which has found innovative ways to implement the BSFT program along with others toward the common goal of empowering families with tools to reduce behavior problems as well as substance abuse problems found in adolescent youth. The staff at Touchstone understands that the mission of families to be a team initiative. By sticking with it, not getting discouraged, and not diverting to the old ways of doing things, the community became informed and Touchstone Behavioral Health is able to effectively share the results with others.