Juvenile Court Functional Family Therapy

Class Format

  • on average, FFT requires 8 to 12 sessions
  • In most cases, sessions are spread over a 3-month period
  • focuses on the multiple domains and systems within which the participants live
  • includes the treatment system, family and individual functioning, and the therapist as major components.

Class Description

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is an empirically grounded, well-documented and highly successful family intervention that focuses on children and teens at risk or already involved with juvenile justice. Through clinical sessions with a trained FFT therapist, family members work to develop inner strengths and sense of being able to improve their situations.

These characteristics provide the family with a platform for change and future functioning that
extends beyond the direct support of the therapist and other social systems. In the long run, the FFT philosophy leads to greater self-sufficiency and fewer total treatment needs.

Jill McGinnis

Eligibility Criteria

  • Youth must be on probation during course of FFT
  • Risk Assessment must indicate eligibility of FFT

Referral Process

  • must be referred by Probation Counselor
  • FFT Clinician will contact family

Three(3) FFT Intervention Phases

  • Phase 1: Engagement and Motivation: Engage and motivate youth and their families by decreasing the intense negativity (blaming, hopelessness) often characteristic of these families. Rather than ignoring or being paralyzed by the intense negative experiences these families often bring (e.g., cultural isolation and racism, loss and deprivation, abandonment, abuse, depression), FFT acknowledges and incorporates these powerful emotional forces into successful engagement and motivation through respect, sensitivity, and positive reattribution techniques.
  • Phase 2: Behavior Change: Reduce and eliminate the problem behaviors and accompanying family relational patterns through individualized behavior change interventions. During this phase FFT integrates a strong cognitive/attributional component into systematic skill-training in family communication, parenting, problem solving, and conflict management skills.
  • Phase 3: Generalization: Generalize changes across problem situations by increasing the family's capacity to adequately utilize community resources, and engage in relapse prevention.