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Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy (FFT)

Functional Family Therapy or FFT is more than just therapy. For our therapists, it’s a way of thinking. For the families that experience it, it’s a way to heal the family from the roots up.

FFT is a short-term, family-based model of therapy that is designed for at-risk youth from 11-18 years old. FFT is strengths-based and, at its core, is focused on risk and protective factors that impact youth and their home environment. FFT is used for a range of adolescent problems like violence, drug abuse/use, disruptive behavior/conduct disorders, and family conflict. The ultimate goal of FFT is to keep youth in their families and out of more restrictive environments, like hospitals or jails.


Who’s Eligible:

– Youth between age 11-18

– Families with relationship issues

– Youth who have been charged with status offenses (ex. truancy, running away from home, drug charges)

– Youth at risk of out-of-home placement or who are involved in multiple systems (ex. Children’s Services, DD Board, etc)



– Decrease negativity and destructive patterns

– Develop positive behavior change and parenting strategies

– Help family members adopt positive solutions to family problems

– Improve family communication and supportiveness

– Introduce a positive way families can function


FFT offers families evidence-based outcomes that can significantly decrease unnecessary hospitalizations and reduce recidivism in the juvenile justice system. Costs associated with incarceration or repeated hospitalizations are also greatly reduced. FFT is also used in many settings and by a variety of agencies like child welfare systems, schools, and mental health centers.

Alta’s experienced therapists work with families in the home setting to assess family patterns of interaction and teach family members skills that improve their relationships.

What makes FFT so effective is the “quality over quantity.” Our sessions are flexible in order to meet the specific needs of the families we serve. The length of treatment can range from 12-16 sessions for moderate cases or 26-30 for more severe cases and are spread over a 3-5 month period. This model allows families and therapists to work together to increase chances of success.

FFT Goals

The goals of treatment involve engaging youth and family members by establishing credibility, being responsive to families’ needs, motivating youth and their families, and decreasing intense negativity (ex. blaming, hopelessness) so often characteristic of families. Rather than ignoring or being paralyzed by intense negative experiences (e.g., cultural isolation and racism, loss and deprivation, abandonment, abuse, depression), FFT acknowledges and incorporates these powerful emotional forces into treatment through techniques that emphasize respect, sensitivity, and positive reattribution.



View FFT Flyer


If you have any questions or would like to refer a family into this program contact Alta today.

Brian Crisan M.A.Ed., LPCC

[email protected]