FFT Partners is a training and research organization that works to improve the lives of families and communities through alliance-based partnerships. Our goal is to maintain the highest ethical standards and model fidelity combined with innovation, collaboration and accountability to make proven practices accessible to those in need.
Integrate families’ voices in all phases of treatment
Develop and grow in innovative, collaborative, dynamic and evidence-based ways
Practice evidence-based programs in evidence-based ways to maintain model fidelity
Evolve the model in a way that is responsive to the needs of families, communities and agencies
Provide innovative, real-time cloud-based technology and training for predictability and outcomes
Functional Family Therapy (FFT) (Sexton & Alexander, 2006, Sexton, 2009) is an evidence-based treatment program for adolescents with behavior problems. FFT is a highly intense yet short-term intervention in which family-based treatment usually occurs in 12 to 20 family sessions over the course of 4 to 8 months. The active ingredients of FFT are based upon theoretically derived constructs that mediate the relationship between initial youth and family risk factors and successful treatment outcomes (e.g., decrease in drug use, risky sexual behavior, and other conduct problems).
FFT has been applied to a wide range of problem youth and their families in various multi-ethnic, multicultural contexts. FFT has a wide range of clinical applications:
The FFT target population ranges from at-risk preadolescents to youth with very serious problems such as conduct disorder, violent acting-out, and substance abuse.
FFT targets youth aged 11-18, younger siblings of referred adolescents often become part of the intervention process.
Short term: 8 to 12 one-hour sessions for mild cases and up to 30 hours of direct service for more difficult situations.
In most programs, sessions are spread over a three-month to six month period.
As a clinical model FFT has been conducted in clinic settings as an outpatient therapy as well as a home-based model.
FFT is a multisystemic intervention.
FFT is built on a systematic articulation of goals and clinician activities described in the published intervention manuals (Alexander, Pugh, Parsons, & Sexton, 2000; Sexton & Alexander, 2004). The active ingredients of the FFT interventions are represented by three phases (engagement/motivation, behavior change, and generalization), each with measurable process goals and family skills that are the targets of intervention. Each phase has specific goals and clinician skills associated with it. The specificity of the model allows for monitoring of treatment, training, and clinician model adherence in ways that are not possible with other less specific treatment interventions.
FFT has been recognized nationally for its successful youth outcomes by:
Blueprints for Youth Violence
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
American Youth Policy Forum
US Department of Justice
FFT is one of four model programs named by the US Surgeon General as a model program for seriously delinquent youth
FFT is listed as a “well-supported” service by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse
The data from numerous outcome studies suggests that when applied as intended, FFT can reduce recidivism between 25% and 60%. Additional studies suggest that FFT is a cost effective intervention that can, when appropriately implemented, reduce treatment costs well below that of traditional services and other family-based interventions.
Successfully working with youth and families remains one of the most complex therapeutic tasks faced by clinicians. Families that come for help struggle with behaviors, emotions, and experiences that are no longer functional, that may be harmful, or don’t fit well within the context in which they live.
FFT developed out of a clinical need in communities, schools, and community-based treatment centers to serve a population of at-risk adolescents and families who were often perceived to be difficult to treat and difficult to engage. Over three decades of evolution and development, FFT has matured to include a comprehensive theoretical “lens,” a systemically relationally-based change process (“map”), and an appreciation and reliance on the clinical creativity of the therapist who translates the model from an idea into practice in the relational interactions with the client and family. FFT is unique in the field of couple and family psychology in that rather than a “tool box” of collected therapist techniques, it is a comprehensive family-based and relationally-focused clinical intervention model that is more an “architectural plan” than a series of isolated clinical techniques.
For us, being part of the development of Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a personal experience. We are passionate about finding the best ways for families to get out of the problematic ways in which they are stuck. For us, FFT is far more than a therapeutic model, it is:
Both scientific at its foundation while retaining an emotional heart and a fundamental creativity to working with families.
Constantly evolving through the evolution of ideas, practices, and methods as we search to constantly improve the model, the theory, and the clinical interventions to be most helpful to those families in need.
A creative activity with each therapist matching the model to the unique features of a family.
We have come a long way from the early days of FFT. Today, the model is far more than its simplistic beginnings. Using our innovative training methods, trainees get an evidence-based training experience demonstrating both knowledge and the ability to practice with fidelity. Using our online adult learner oriented training methods training now maximizes adult learning while minimizing time away from work productivity. Using the FFT-Clinical Measurement System, we are able to accurately track client progress both in terms of outcome and therapeutic process.
Using our Care 4 Clinical Feedback System, FFT therapists track the impact, progress, and symptom levels of youth and families and receive real time feedback each week allowing for individualization of treatment to the unique features of each family. Using our innovative evidence-based treatment planning system, FFT goes beyond a model based on past evidence to one with current evidence every day. Finally, much like the FFT treatment model, our goal is to work with you, being flexible to help the FFT model fit your organization and context to make a lasting and self sustaining FFT project that becomes part of how you and your organization work.
Thank you so much for your interest in our work, we hope to have the opportunity to work with you in the complex task of helping the families in your community in need.
Astrid van Dam
Comprehensive web-based core clinical training, eliminating any delay in training new FFT clinicians.
Exceptional ongoing clinical training in all 3 phases of training with every member of the team including onsite clinical training and supervised practice, weekly video conference consultation, webinars, and advanced online training.
Free Replacement Training in year one, keeping the cost of staff turnover down.
Integrated client/family feedback system for every session ensuring that the “family voice” is an integral part of session and treatment planning.
“We work with families in Brooklyn from a variety of different cultures. My caseload is pretty diverse, people born and raised in New York, people from the West Indies, Bangladesh, it’s a very eclectic mix.”
“The site visits are cool because we’re live in action with our real families for in-person support and feedback. I’ve really liked how everything is clear and detailed and it’s very concrete and easy to follow.”
“I think [the site visit] gave me that opportunity to anticipate a lot of different things and see a lot of different styles of therapy.”
“This work can be very solitary but having that opportunity to be around other clinicians [during supervision] and learn from them has been really helpful.”
“[Consultation] has definitely made me a stronger clinician because it’s easy for someone to go and tell you what to do but to see it in practice and get that one on one feedback is definitely beneficial and helpful.”