Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about MDFT training

Q: Does the trainer visit the site or will trainees have to travel to the trainer?
A: Trainees do not need to travel to the trainer's site. All training will take place at the trainee's site, via telephone, and on the Internet. Training is much more intensive than a one-time workshop. Training is done at the trainees' sites so that the particulars of the implementation process can be tailored to each program's unique realities.

Q: Can MDFT be delivered in an outpatient setting?
A: Yes. MDFT is a comprehensive treatment and not a service delivery system. MDFT can be delivered in all settings including office-based outpatient, in-home, day treatment, residential/in-patient, and juvenile detention. Studies showing MDFT's effectiveness have been completed in each of these settings. As part of our training services, our team of experts will help you implement MDFT in your particular setting.

Q: Are there additional training or startup costs?
A: No. The cost for the training includes all materials, travel for the trainer, and fees. All start-up costs are delineated.

Q: Is there an additional fee to be licensed as a MDFT program?
A: No. MDFT programs that meet the site requirements and have certified therapists and supervisors are licensed for free by MDFT International.

Q: Do the costs remain the same from year to year?
A: No. The costs are highest during the initial training year, and then are reduced in subsequent years as the program becomes more self-sufficient. Programs with in-house trainers are allowed to train their own therapists, and hence avoid the cost of training a new therapist as there is turnover or expansion.

Q: Are there a minimum number of trainees required for a training?
A: Yes. A minimum of two trainees is required, though a minimum of four is recommended. This includes an agency supervisor or team leader to ultimately be trained as an MDFT supervisor. We will train a team that is less than four, but we charge the same fee as we charge for a team of four so for most agencies this isn't practical.

Q: Does an MDFT program have to have a therapist assistant?
A: No. If your clientele does not have significant unmet social, health, and financial needs you will not need a TA or may need fewer TAs to get the job done. The TA is there to reduce practical barriers to treatment participation and success. As part of the pre-implementation process we will help you determine the need for a TA.

Q: What happens if a trainee doesn't complete the training? Is there an additional cost to train the replacement therapist?
A: We will help you make the best hiring decisions to avoid turnover. However, even with the best efforts, there is always the risk of turnover. If a trainee leaves the agency and you can hire a replacement within the first three months of the initial training, there are no additional costs to train the replacement. However, if the replacement occurs after the third month, we will have to charge you to train the replacement.

We have tools designed to help you make the best hiring decisions and to retain staff.

Q: We are a mental health agency with no experience with drug testing, and we are reluctant to add this to our program. Is this required in MDFT?
A: We strongly recommend that MDFT programs have available and use instant drug tests so therapists can utilize the tests with their clients who use or are suspected of using drugs. In MDFT we use the drug test results in a very specific and therapeutic manner, and not in the way drug tests are used in traditional substance abuse treatment programs, or how they are used by courts or employers. There are specific protocols to teach therapists how to use the drugs tests to promote therapeutic change in teens and parents. It is not unusual for some agencies to be reluctant to do drug testing, however, once they understand the MDFT way of drug testing, they find that it is very useful.

Read more about drug testing here.

Q: Can individuals in private practice or working in an agency that doesn't have an MDFT program be trained in MDFT?
A: No, at this point we only train teams, and not individuals, to certification. However, each year there are several learning opportunities in MDFT. These are posted on this website. To stay informed, kindly consider joining the MDFT distribution list.

"In MDFT we have to do urine testing so we really have a lock on what is going on, and I have to say that although we were a little apprehensive at first about the urine testing, it is really helpful. There is a broader range of outcomes that we get more consistently in MDFT. And this approach gives us a deeper emotional change."

From Michele Dubowy, MSW, Program Director at the Children's Aid Society in New York