Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)

Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is aimed at young people (aged 5 – 18) who are at risk of developing serious behaviour problems, including delinquency and substance abuse. BSFT is a short-term, problem-focused intervention. Families are seen conjointly, with emphasis on modifying maladaptive patterns of interactions. Typical sessions last from 60 to 90 minutes, with 12-15 sessions taking place over three months. Therapy is based upon the assumption that each family has unique characteristics that emerge when family members interact, and that this family "system" influences all members of the family, thus the family is viewed as a whole organism. The repetitive interactions, or ways in which family members interact and behave with regard to one another, can be either successful or unsuccessful. BSFT targets these interaction patterns that are directly related to the young person's behaviour problems and establishes a practical plan to help the family develop more effective patterns of interaction.

Target group Children and adolescents aged 5 – 18 who are perceived as being "at-risk"
Focus of intervention
    Level of intervention
    • Selective prevention
    Outcomes affected
    • Good behaviour
    Impact of intervention

    Externalising behaviour symptoms: -0.50*

    *statistically significant at p<0.05

    Figure(s) taken from Appendix A of this report.

    Risk & protective factors targeted

    Cost-benefit analysis

    Source of benefits

    Contact information

    Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D.
    1120 NW 14th Street, Suite 1010
    Miami, FL 33136

    001-303 243-8331

    Local authorities running the intervention in the UK
    • None known at present

    Please contact us if you are running this intervention in the UK.