The History Of Multidimensional Family Therapy ( MDFT )

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History of MDFT
In 1985 Dr. Howard Liddle developed Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) in an effort to combat adolescent substance abuse along with associated mental health and behavioral issues (Rowe, 2010). Combining multiple theoretical frameworks, such as developmental psychology, family systems theory, and the risk and protective model of adolescent substance abuse, Liddle created a multi-systems approach to focus on the adolescent as an individual, family member, and peer; the parents as individuals and their caregiving roles; the family and their interconnected relationships as well as the family environment; and extra-familial influential systems, such as school, peer networks, and the juvenile justice system (Liddle, 2010). This ecological conceptual framework allows for MDFT to delve deeper into understanding the adolescent’s intersecting environments and relationships in regard to their own development and substance abuse. MDFT focuses on risk and protective factors at the various ecological levels to determine levels of functioning in the differing systems to guide the integrated treatment approach (Liddle, 2010). Since family functioning is vital for constructing developmentally healthy alternates to their current lifestyles, it is important that each intervention is customized to the adolescent and their family regarding history, culture, interactional style, etc., so that they can increase their developmental abilities to promote change (Liddle, 2010).
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