Functional Family Therapy

Functional Family Therapy was founded in the 1970s by Dr. James F. Alexander. FFT LLC is the model’s training and dissemination organization. The FFT model has received international recognition for its outcomes in helping troubled youth and their families to overcome delinquency, substance abuse, and violence. It is a short-term treatment strategy that is built on a foundation of respect of individuals, families and cultures, but that includes powerful treatment strategies that pave the way for motivating individuals and families to become more adaptive and successful in their own lives. In doing so, FFT helps to save families while at the same time preventing crime and victimization in communities.

Clinical Model

FFT is a short-term, high quality intervention program with an average of 12 to 14 sessions over three to five months. FFT works primarily with 10- to 18-year-old youth who have been referred for behavioral or emotional problems by the juvenile justice, mental health, school or child welfare systems. Services are conducted in both clinic and home settings, and can also be provided schools, child welfare facilities, probation and parole offices/aftercare systems and mental health facilities.

FFT is a strength-based model built on a foundation of acceptance and respect. At its core is a focus on assessment and intervention to address risk and protective factors within and outside of the family that impact the adolescent and his or her adaptive development.

FFT consists of five major components: engagement, motivation, relational assessment, behavior change and generalization. Each of these components has its own goals, focus and intervention strategies and techniques.