Implementing evidence-based multiple-family groups with adolescent substance abusers

Douglas C. Smith, James A. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agencies that provide adolescent drug treatment services have reported increased demand to treat multiple families in groups. However, little attention has been paid to the challenges associated with implementing multiple-family group interventions for adolescent substance abusers. To address this gap in the literature, the authors discuss the implementation of multiple-family groups embedded within a promising multimodal intervention called Strengths-Oriented Family Therapy (SOFT). We provide a brief description of the system of care within which the SOFT multiple-family groups were developed and outline the process of implementation. The authors discuss challenges they faced implementing multiple-family groups in their partnership with a not-for-profit agency using Gotham's (2006) conceptual framework for the transfer of evidence-based models into community practice. The challenges included meeting state licensure standards, providing services in rural areas, supervising the multiple-family groups, and addressing therapist's concerns and assumptions about the model. The authors conclude with practical recommendations for others that are developing or implementing multifamily groups as adolescent substance abuse treatment models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-138
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Work with Groups
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Adolescents
  • Drug abuse
  • Family therapy
  • Group psychotherapy
  • Multiple family groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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