Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Provides positive family-strengthening resources to youth at risk and in need while emphasizing family-focused direction during family meetings

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an outcome-driven prevention/intervention program for youth who have demonstrated the entire range of maladaptive, acting-out behaviors and related syndromes.

Program Targets

Youth ages 11 to 18, at risk for and / or presenting with delinquency, violence, substance use, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or disruptive behavior disorder.

Program Content

FFT requires as few as 8 to 12 hours of direct service time for commonly referred youth and their families, and generally no more than 26 hours of direct service time for the most severe problem situations.

FFT effectiveness derives from emphasizing factors that enhance protective factors and reduce risk, including the risk of treatment termination. In order to accomplish these changes in the most effective manner, FFT is a phasic program with steps that build upon each other.

These phases consist of:

  • Engagement, designed to emphasize within youth and family factors that protect youth and families from early program dropout
  • Motivation, designed to change maladaptive emotional reactions and beliefs, and increase alliance, trust, hope, and motivation for lasting change
  • Assessment, designed to clarify individual, family system, and larger system relationships, especially the interpersonal functions of behavior and how they related to change techniques
  • Behavior Change, which consists of communication training, specific tasks and technical aids, basic parenting skills, contracting and response-cost techniques
  • Generalization, during which family case management is guided by individualized family functional needs, their interface with environmental constraints and resources, and the alliance with the FFT therapist/family case manager