VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

The Effectiveness of Brief Strategic Family Therapy With At-Risk

Wendy K. Killam and Bill Weber


Adolescence can be a difficult time with numerous changes and struggles with identify formation. Racial identity struggles and the need to be part of a group can lead to negative behaviors. Guiding adolescents successfully through the adolescent stage requires a family environment where there are solid boundaries and mutual respect. When problems arise, it can be beneficial to involve the entire family in the treatment process. Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) can assist in creating changes in the environment for at-risk youth that encourage successful navigation through these years. In this study, high risk African American youth and their families received 12 weeks of treatment using BSFT. A survey was administered prior to treatment and at the end of treatment. A pretest/posttest design was used to examine if significant changes occurred in behavior patterns. There were several areas in which significant changes were noted. In reviewing the changes, one can see the benefits of using an intervention such as BSFT. However, additional research is needed to determine if changes can be sustained beyond the adolescent years.

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