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Keywords:

  • collaboration;
  • family therapy;
  • multisystemic therapy;
  • engagement strategies;
  • therapeutic alliance

This article summarizes and illustrates the collaboration strategies used by several family therapies. The strategies used within multisystemic therapy (MST) are emphasized because it has demonstrated high rates of treatment completion and favorable outcomes in multiple clinical trials. Many of the collaboration strategies in family work are common to other forms of evidence-based psychotherapy (e.g., reflective listening, empathy, reframing, and displays of authenticity and flexibility); however, some strategies are unique to family systems treatments, such as the identification of strengths across multiple systems in the youth's social ecology and the maintenance of a family (versus a child) focus during treatment. A case example illustrates collaboration and engagement in the context of MST.