UM SSW The Institute  

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Contact Info:

Jennifer Mettrick
Director of Implementation Services

Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a short-term, high quality intervention program for high-risk youth ages 10-18 and their families, with an average of 12 sessions over a 3-4 month period. It is intended for a wide range of youth whose problems range from acting out behaviors to conduct disorder to alcohol and/or substance abuse.

Services are conducted in both clinic and home settings, and can also be provided in schools, child welfare facilities, probation and parole offices/aftercare systems, and mental health facilities.

The intervention program itself consists of five major phases in addition to pretreatment activities:

  • Engagement in change;
  • Motivation to change;
  • Relational/Interpersonal Assessment and Planning for Behavior change;
  • Behavior Change; and,
  • Generalization across behavioral domains and multiple systems.

Since 1971, the efficacy and effectiveness of FFT has been established in numerous research studies. The original studies were conducted by Alexander and colleagues at the University of Utah. Over time, independent replications and extensions of findings have been completed by other research teams. The positive effects of FFT have been observed for adolescent substance use and delinquency, and family functioning.

The Institute helps to facilitate implementation of FFT and provide utilization, fidelity and outcome data to stakeholders.

Reports & Publications


Maryland's FFT Providers:

Bureau of Behavioral Health (Baltimore County) - Carrie Miller,

Center for Children (Anne Arundel, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's Counties) - Cathy Meyers,

Vision Quest (Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Eastern Shore, Harford County, Howard County , Prince George's County, Montgomery County) - Richard Berry,