Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is described in the latest addition to the Therapy Manuals for Drug Addiction series. The short-term intervention is used to treat adolescent drug use that occurs along with other problem behaviors. This therapy focuses on an adolescent's drug use within the context of family dynamics.
The BSFT manual introduces counselors to concepts they need to understand the family as a vital context within which adolescent drug abuse occurs. It also describes strategies for creating a therapeutic relationship with families, assessing and diagnosing maladaptive patterns of family interactions, and changing family interaction patterns from maladaptive to adaptive.
BSFT can be adapted to a range of family situations and used in a variety of service settings--such as mental health clinics, drug abuse treatment programs, and other social service settings. It also can be delivered in various ways, such as on an outpatient basis or in combination with residential or day treatment. Treatment lasts 8 to 24 sessions, depending on the severity of the problem.
In addition to targeting an adolescent's conduct problems at home and at school, BSFT addresses oppositional, aggressive, violent, or risky sexual behavior; association with antisocial peers; and delinquency. Family dynamics are a key focus of this therapy.
Over 25 years of extensive evaluation has found BSFT to be effective in treating adolescent drug abuse, conduct problems, association with antisocial peers, and impaired family functioning. It has been shown to be particularly successful with cultural groups that emphasize family and interpersonal relationships. BSFT has not been tested with adult addicts and is not considered a treatment for adult addiction.
The upcoming manual and the series of which it is a part exemplify NIDA's commitment to applying basic research findings to treatment needs. In addition to describing scientifically based therapies for addiction, the five manuals provide guidance on content for counseling sessions and effective counseling techniques. Audiences include drug abuse treatment practitioners, mental health professionals, and others involved in treating drug abuse and addiction.
Therapy Manuals Offer a Range of Treatment Strategies
The four earlier therapy manuals can be downloaded from NIDA's Web site. The Brief Strategic Family Therapy manual also will soon be available from these sources.
- A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (Manual 1) describes cognitive-behavioral coping skills treatment, a short-term, focused approach to helping cocaine-dependent individuals abstain from cocaine and other drugs.
- A Community Reinforcement Plus Vouchers Approach: Treating Cocaine Addiction (Manual 2) integrates a community reinforcement approach with an incentive program that uses vouchers. Patients earn points to redeem for retail items by remaining in treatment and abstaining from cocaine.
- An Individual Counseling Approach to Treat Cocaine Addiction: The Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study Model (Manual 3) presents a guide for the individual treatment of cocaine addiction that emphasizes an individual's physical, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal needs in supporting recovery.
- Drug Counseling for Cocaine Addiction: The Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study Model (Manual 4) describes the Group Drug Counseling (GDC) model developed for the Collaborative Cocaine Treatment Study (CCTS), a multisite clinical trial. The study found the combination of GDC and individual drug counseling to be more effective than GDC alone or the combination of GDC and psychotherapy.