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.
J Child Adolesc Subst Abuse. 2017 May. doi: 10.1080/1067828X.2017.1322020.