Skip navigation.

What is Multisystemic Therapy for Problem Sexual Behaviour (MST-PSB)

What is MST-PSB?

MST-PSB is a clinical adaptation of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) that has been specifically designed and developed to treat young people with problem sexual behaviour. Building upon the research and dissemination foundation of standard MST, the MST-PSB model represents a state-of-the-art, evidence-based practice uniquely developed to address the multiple determinants underlying problem sexual behaviour in young people. Results from two efficacy trials in the USA show lower recidivism rates for both sexual and non-sexual offences and fewer out-of home placements.

The intervention is designed to work with young people who are in a home setting with at least one identified caregiver. MST-PSB  therapists work with families in their homes and other community settings to ensure ecological validity and encourage long-term sustainable changes, typically, therapists meet families three to four times a week for a period of five to seven months and are on-call 24 hours a day and seven days a week. MST-PSB relies heavily on family therapy as a mechanism for change and also draws on models of parent training, cognitive-behavioural therapy and social skills building. A paramount mission of the model is to ensure client, victim and community safety so extensive assessment and planning underpin the individualised safety plan of every young person and family.

See here for more information about how to make a referral.

Summary of service and objectives

  • Provides individualised, comprehensive and family-centred therapy over a period of five to seven months

  • Intensive in-home family therapy three to four times per week with family access to the MST-PSB team at all times. We do not assume that youths will be consistently motivated to recognise their own risk factors or manage their own behaviours: caregivers and significant others in the ecology are enlisted to play key roles as monitors and managers.

  • Family and community-based treatment to focus on the aspects of the young person's ecology that are related to the problem sexual behaviour.

  • Comprehensive safety plans to minimise the risk of the young person reoffending. Safety planning must always include sufficient structure and provisions to protect all members of the community.

  • Utilisation of family-based offence clarification work that aims to reduce denial and increase youth accountability.

  • Assessing the offender's own victimisation, the impact of the abuse and related treatment needs.

  • Empowerment of caregivers to successfully manage the young person in the home environment, including sustainable safety planning, relapse prevention, clarification, reunification when appropriate, parenting skills and ensuring appropriate boundaries in the home and community.

Referral criteria

Young person is:

  • Aged 10-17 years.

  • Engaged in problem sexual behaviour, including sexual offending.

  • Living in parental home or have been in long-term foster care for at least 18 months. If they are in a short-term out-of-home placement, family reunification must be able to take place within 30-60 days, assuming safety concerns have been addressed.

  • Has not been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, autistic spectrum disorder or serious developmental delays.

  • Commited an offence against an identifiable victim within the last two years.

For more information, please contact the MST-PSB Team on 020 7424 9935 or send an email.