Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is a family-based, comprehensive treatment program focused on adolescent and young adult substance abuse and related behavioral and emotional difficulties.  The model is widely recognized as an effective evidence-based treatment for adolescent substance use disorders and delinquency (e.g., Liddle et al 2008; Liddle et al 2009; Rigter et al, 2005; Vaughn & Howard, 2004; Waldron & Turner, 2008).  MDFT is theory driven, combining aspects of several theoretical frameworks such as, family systems theory, developmental psychology, and the risk and protective model of adolescent substance abuse.  It incorporates key elements of effective adolescent drug treatment, including comprehensive assessment; an integrated treatment approach; family involvement; developmentally appropriate interventions; specialized engagement and retention protocols; attention to qualifications of staff and their ongoing training; gender and cultural competence.  MDFT is flexible treatment delivery structure, tailoring treatment to the needs of the youth and family.

The Yale Child Study Center MDFT program receives all referrals from the Department of Children & Families (DCF) and provides treatment for youth ages 9 to 18.  The treatment is sectioned into three stages working with multiple domains (Adolescent, Parent, Family and Extrafamial).  This intensive home based treatment program provides at least three therapeutic contacts with the family weekly and intensive case management and is delivered over six months by a master's trained clinician and a bachelor's trained mental health counselor.


Bethany Kleine, MSW, LCSW

Assistant Clinical Professor (Social Work) in the Child Study Center