Multi-systemic Therapy

Subject: Psychology
Type: Evaluation Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1078
Topics: Cognitive Psychology, Health, Helping Others, Nursing


The young delinquents as young as 12 years and below have higher chances of graduating to become tomorrow’s violent and dangerous offenders compared to adolescent offenders. The good news is that the situation can be turned around and these cases minimized. The truth is that it is possible to single out and isolate the cases before crimes are committed or at the initial stages of criminality. It is important to note that, during the early stages, the treatment, as well as the intervention programs, carries a higher success rate thereby minimizing the overall community crime level (Klietz & Borduin, 2007). 

Besides the fact that there is a lot that can be done to limit the cases of delinquency graduating to become chronic criminality, isolation and subsequent integration of the treatment modalities with the ongoing community interventions bears a higher success rate compared to other interventions. Despite the observation, there exists a limited number of a well-planned as well as integrated interventions targeted towards bringing down the incidences of youth delinquency across the United States of America (Swenson, 2009).

The paper, therefore, pays close attention to the possible innovative treatment strategies in dealing with juvenile offenders with a particular focus on the multi-systemic therapy as one of the approaches.

Multi-systemic Therapy

Research has it that minors who are involved in most violent and grave offenses begin by demonstrating a persistent pattern of disruptive misconduct during the early childhood and depict a high propensity for minor deliquescent misconducts during the pre-school period.  To this end, therefore, the most comprehensive and integrated approaches should target youths persistently involved in disruptive activities not forgetting those involved in violent and dangerous crimes. Multi-systemic therapy is one such intervention that has demonstrated impressive results in dealing with minor offenders (Borduin, Schaeffer, & Heiblum, 2009).

The technique refers to a comprehensive community and family-based treatment approach that seeks to address the impact of environmental systems on violent and chronic juvenile offenders including their families and homes, neighbors and friends and more importantly schools and teachers. Consequently, the approach has shown tremendous results in breaking the cyclic nature of some of the criminal misconducts in minors. In most cases, the model makes use of therapists who book appointments with the family and the significant others in the life of the youth. One advantage of the program is that the therapists and the services offered are often readily available on demand round the clock and seven days every week. The primary goal of the intervention is to enhance the decision-making ability and capacity concerning peer groups as well as helping related families monitor the minor’s behavior. The above goals are achieved by scheduling interviews targeted towards finding out more on school officials, peers mapping out the real problems and the most appropriate solutions. Additionally, the therapists proceed to identify the minor’s, peer’s, school’s as well as family’s benefits and strengths that can be utilized in addressing the problem. Then the therapists proceed and identify the goals to be achieved by both the youth and the family, for instance, minimizing contact with peers or even enhancing regular school attendance (Swenson, 2009).  

The multi-systemic approach has as one of the most appropriate forms of therapy in handling delinquent juvenile including the minor offender’s family. It is far much beneficial as across board and a long-term approach as opposed to the use of individual therapy. Multi-systemic therapy operates both as a community and family-based technique targeting young offenders who demonstrate deliquescence as well as a higher degree of the antisocial problem. The program brings together different stakeholders in ensuring that the juvenile delinquents regain their rightful position in the society and become as functionally productive as they can be. Such players include peers, family, community and primarily the individual communities making it the best innovative treatment strategy (Klietz & Borduin, 2007).

A case in time is a juvenile who before his adjudication is caught in the act pouring gasoline on a dog belonging to a neighbor, the young offender goes a step further and sets the dog on fire killing it almost instantly. Besides, the child has not been attending the school of late and instead spends most of what would otherwise be class time terrorizing and creating scenes in the neighborhood. Such an offender is a perfect candidate for a multi-systemic form of therapy to rectify his behavior and attitude. Notably, such cases require early and immediate intervention in the form of rehabilitation and therapy to avert more serious crimes and before the minor turns into a serial criminal. The child, in this case, is demonstrating early tell-tale signs of conduct disorder that if not treated early can quickly graduate to become anti-social disorder later in adulthood. Minors living with misconducts are more likely to repeatedly participate in violent and criminal offenses and often turn their actions towards others as well as animals. Equally, perpetrators have a higher propensity to threaten to steal and harm their targeted victims with an early onset of between the ages of 7 and 15. Based on the above presentation, therefore, it is fair to conclude that the child could be suffering from behavior disorder and therefore can benefit from multi-systemic therapy (SIEGEL, 2017).    

In summation, the multi-systemic therapy brings on different stakeholders like the family, peers, schools, and teachers as well as the community in tackling some of the challenges. Equally, it utilizes a case management technique in providing a comprehensive, individualized treatment program. The justification is in the fact that, most if not all childhood conduct associated disorders have their basis in one or a combination of the following factors; drug and substance abuse, genetic and biologic factors, traumatic events, exposure to violence either in the community or from peers. Additionally, these conduct demeanors are closely tied to inadequate parenting, troubled child-parent relationships, family hostility as well as family conflict (Swenson, 2009). To this end, therefore, the multi-system therapy offers the most practical solution because it is broad and extensive enough to cover almost all aspects including the cognitive-behavioral point of view as well as bringing on board peers, family members as well as the community.

Credibility of the sources

As far as the credibility of the sources is concerned, it was imperative to ensure that the sources are not older than ten years and that the authors behind the publications have an outstanding reputation. Finally, and as far as journals are concerned, they must have been cited in other related works.

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  1. Borduin, C. M., Schaeffer, C. M., & Heiblum, N. (2009). A randomized clinical trial of multisystemic therapy with juvenile sexual offenders: Effects on youth social ecology and criminal activity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(1), 26-37. Print.
  2. Klietz, S. J., & Borduin, C. M. (2007). Cost-benefit analysis of multisystemic therapy with serious and violent juvenile offenders. Columbia, Mo: University of Missouri–Columbia. Print.
  3. SIEGEL, L. A. R. R. Y. J. (2017). JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: Theory, practice, and law. Place of publication not identified: WADSWORTH. Print.
  4. Swenson, C. C. (2009). Multisystemic therapy and neighborhood partnerships: Reducing adolescent violence and substance abuse. New York: Guilford Press. Print.
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