Family-Directed Structural Therapy
Family-Directed Structural Therapy
University of Kansas School of Social WelfareTami Radohl Sigley, LSCSW
Kim Murphy, Ph.D
Don McLendon, LSCSW, LCMFT, PsyD
- What is Family-Directed Structural Therapy (or FDST)?
- Links to Articles and Publications
- Contact Information
- Current Projects
- Links to Additional Resources
What is Family Directed Structural Therapy?
Family Directed Structural Therapy (FDST) is a time-limited and flexible approach to family therapy built on traditional concepts
of Structural Family Therapy, the Strengths Model, and Group Work Theory. FDST provides families and service providers with a
framework and vocabulary to identify areas of concern and family strengths via a corresponding Family-Directed Structural Assessment
Tool while concurrently documenting progress toward family-identified goals. FDST is designed to be utilized by the family both
inside and outside the clinical setting.
The FDST Assessment Tool can be used by community mental health center service providers including home-based family therapists, outpatient therapists, case managers, attendant care providers, and parent support specialists. FDST provides a common language and vocabulary that parents, children, and service providers may use to enhance service delivery and coordination of services . Service providers can use FDST with parents, families, and groups, while also utilizing FDST vocabulary with children when working one-on-one.
FDST has been utilized in clinical settings for over 20 years. FDST developers are currently working at the University of Kansas developing a research base to support FDST. With a research base in place, FDST is beginning to emerge an promising practice that can be used by mental health practitioners and service providers.
Articles, Reports and Publications
- Family Directed Structural Therapy, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, October 2005
- McLendon, T., McLendon, T., & Petr, C. G. (2008). A therapeutic wilderness family camp utilizing family-directed structural therapy: A conceptual overview. Journal of Therapeutic Wilderness Camping, 6 (1), 18-22
- McLendon, T., McLendon, D., Petr, C. G., Kapp, S. A., & Mooradian, J. (2009). Family- Directed Structural Therapy in a therapeutic wilderness family camp: An outcome study. Social Work in Mental Health. 7(5), 508-527.
- Radohl, T. (2010). Incorporating family into the formula: Family-directed structural therapy for children with serious emotional disturbance. Found online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2010.00720.x/full
A premise of FDST is that for children to achieve lasting change, their family environment must support this change with parents taking ownership of the change process. FDST is family-centered and respects the family where they are, thereby enhancing consumer buy-in at the onset of services.
FDST allows objectivity using guidance rather than the service provider's own interpretation to determine treatment goals. Using scores from the corresponding assessment tool and a framework of interaction that offers suggestions regarding ways to bring about positive change, service providers guide families to identify both areas of concern and strengths to build upon.
Two-Day Training Initiative (Spring 2011)
A survey was sent out to all mental health centers during the Fall of 2010
and several Kansas community mental health centers expressed interest in FDST.
As a result, five statewide trainings were scheduled during the Spring of 2011
and respondents to the survey were included in the training initiative.
Because FDST is centered around common language and use by multi-disciplinary teams, FDST trainers recommend training all service providers in the approach. Ideally, therapists and/or supervisors lead the treatment team in using FDST with other providers supporting the common language, strengths, and areas of concern identified in the assessment tool. Prior agreement between agencies and FDST trainers should be reached if agencies wish to train only case managers in the model.
Attendees for the Spring Training Initiative will receive a supplemental FDST training manual and will be certified to administer the FDST assessment tool and /or utilize FDST within the context of therapeutic interventions (depending on level of licensure and position). After certification, service providers have an array of resources at their disposal including training consultation, FDST website access (including reports, forms, and other resources), and corresponding games and activities to help engage children and teach core issues. Training is limited to 25 participants per training event. Please contact your FDST trainers for more information. Twelve continuing education units will be awarded for participation