This article describes several barriers to widespread dissemination of manualized family-based treatments for adolescent substance use (ASU). We then offer a highly promising solution for adopting and sustaining family therapy in usual care: distilling the core practice elements of empirically validated family therapy models for ASU. We present a conceptual distillation of family therapy for ASU grounded in existing observational fidelity measures for three manualized models, a process that yielded four core elements: Family Engagement, Relational Reframing, Family Behavior Change, and Family Restructuring. We then introduce an innovative empirical method for distilling core elements that can serve as a template for rigorous distillation of other treatment approaches. Finally, we discuss how core elements can enhance family therapy services within the diverse workforce of usual care for ASU.
Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse. 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1067828X.2017.1322020