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“In The Loop” is a quarterly newsletter for MST professionals. The current issue is shown below.
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Spring 2013 Issue


Behind the Scenes at the 2013 International Conference

Every other year, Courtney Benton feels as if she plans a big wedding for 200-plus very important guests from around the world. 

For the last several years, Benton, who is the events and training coordinator for MST Services, has organized the company’s International Conference in Charleston, S.C. This year’s Courtney Bentonattendance of 250 was a 25 percent increase over the 2011 event.

“I imagine that it's very similar to someone planning their own wedding,” says Benton. “I spend months working on big and small details. There’s the buildup and anticipation – and then it’s over so quickly!”

Hardcore planning for the event starts three months before, and during the final few weeks leading up to the conference, Benton logs 12-hour-plus days. From coordinating logistics with hotel meeting planners to making sure audiovisual staff have the right equipment for each speaker/seminar, to ironing out room details and organizing folders, Benton does it all.

“I even pick out food menus, photocopy and assemble flyers, create nametags and attendee agendas, and update website info,” says Benton. After the event, her follow-up includes summarizing evaluations and sending out attendance letters.

“I make a lot of lists,” she explains. “I’ve learned to prepare ahead and anticipate as much as possible. There’s always something someone needs last minute.”

During the event, “You won’t even catch me eating lunch,” says Benton. During that valuable break time, Benton buzzes about the meeting area changing room setups, equipment, and tweaking and distributing handouts.

So far, she says, there’ve been no big mishaps. The only challenge this year was a last-minute rush to get people checked in on the first morning of the conference.

“We allotted an hour and a half for check-in, but most attendees waited until the last minute, so there were long lines as they picked up folders and name tags; then there was a rush to get everyone seated.” Her note for next time: more lines and more signage to accomodate the rush.

Her note for next time: more lines and more signage to accommodate the rush.

“For the most part, I feel I have it together and know what works. Nevertheless, we’ve never had a 100 percent perfect conference, with nothing I would change,” she says. “And I don’t want to get to that point. There’s always feedback and the opportunity to make things run more smoothly.”

After nearly seven years, she says so much of what she’s learned is anticipating what might go wrong. “Each conference is an opportunity to make the next one better.”

On track for the 2015 MST Services International Conference, she’s received evaluations of each workshop with plenty of positive feedback. “Attendees have let us know they learned a lot that they could take back with them,” she notes. “We received many comments about how they learned from not only the trainers, but also from fellow workshop participants. They learned that others were experiencing similar outcomes and how they dealt with them.”

For the conference, which takes place in Charleston every other year, MST Services “always takes it a step further, coming up with new workshop ideas or further building on past ideas,” says Benton. Attendance continues to rise and the 2015 conference promises to be bigger and better.

Benton will be ready – though she’ll never get used to the pace. “It seems to take forever to do the planning, and when the conference finally gets here, it’s over in the blink of an eye,” she sighs.

 MST Team Member Spotlight: Aisling Woods – MST Trafford Team, UK

aisling woods1. Briefly describe your role with MST and how you originally became involved with the organization?

Currently I am the acting Supervisor for the Trafford Team (covering for Claire Vesey while she is on maternity leave). Prior to this role, I was an MST therapist for the Trafford team for almost four years.

My training lies in education. I taught for four years in a school with its fair share of antisocial behavior. I had a particular passion for the challenging classes, which inspired my career move to the Youth Offending Service. Whilst working for the Youth Offending Service in Trafford, I came across a job advert for a new program called MST and I was instantly excited about the prospect. Upon researching MST, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of and applied for the role as a therapist. MST had a track record in getting positive outcomes with the population that I had been working with for several years. I could see the benefit of including the young person’s wider ecology, which would support them in changing their behavior. I thought to myself, “perhaps MST is the solution to reducing the antisocial behavior I had experienced in the class room and in the Youth Offending Service”. It turns out it is!

2. The Trafford team has set a high standard for the other programs not only in your community, but throughout the country. You’ve risen from struggles to deliver outstanding results and have garnered impressive outcomes for the youth and families in your program. What elements would you say have contributed to this success over the last year?

I feel a fit circle coming on!

I would definitely put the amazing team as a top driver; hiring the right people for the job is so important. In Trafford we have had a period of staff turnover with three members of staff going on maternity leave, one therapist taking a supervisor role and another moving to another MST team. Even with the turnover the team has continued to earn great outcomes. They are truly doing ‘whatever it takes’ and are comfortable working flexibly, supporting each other and remaining focused at all times. They are a pleasure to have worked with as well as supervise this year.

My second priority driver: The ground work done by Claire Vesey prior to her maternity leave and Garry Blackburn, Trafford’s previous back-up supervisor (currently Supervisor in Leeds). It’s much easier to keep a team achieving great results when they are already up there!

Lastly, the support from MST. Without the model, we would be ‘clutching those shiny objects!’ It keeps us focused on the correct drivers which get us the outcomes. The amazing support and direction from ‘Where are you on the do-loop?’ Lori Moore, our consultant for the first four years, as well as the seamless manner that our current consultant, Tom Bowerman, has taken over the role and supported the team to maintain high standards over the last year have also driven the team's success.

Actually, there may be a fourth. Chocolate ………… lots of chocolate!

3. Describe your most memorable moment/ career highlight thus far while working with MST.

Hearing that the team had won the “Whatever It Takes Award” was so exciting! The announcement was topped by Cathy James from the Department of Health offering to financially support a member of the team to travel to Charleston to collect the award. When she asked if I would be able to attend, I think I may have broken world records for the quickest answer to a question ever! Cathy probably didn’t need the phone to hear me. It is fair to say that I was more than a little excited.

The entire event in Charleston was such a wonderful experience; both the workshops and meeting those people whose names I have only seen in print on the MST handbook, were truly inspiring. I was probably like a ten year-old meeting J.K. Rowling!

However great these recent events have been for me, I have the pleasure to say my most memorable event and career highlight happens over and over again in MST. It’s that “light-bulb” moment parents have when something works for them, such as when they take control of their child’s anger, get them into school or keep them at home. When you see that “I can do this” look on their faces, you know you’ve been a part of something really special.

 First Quarter 2013 - Whatever It Takes Award Winners

Nominee Name Organization State
Tracy Harley Fife Council UK
Dana Landry San Francisco Dream Team CA
Anne Edmondson EBIO Ontario
Melanie DeMare Connecticut Junior Republic CT
Jeff Randall, Ph.D. Evidence Based Services SC
Kevin Brown MST Services CO
Dan Iachini Hempfield Behavioral Health PA
Megan Denis Easter Seals UCP NC
Seattle MST Team Therapuetic Health Services WA
Dan Iachini Hempfield Behavioral Health PA
Wendy Jenkins Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options (JAFCO) FL
Andra Hildebrand Adelphoi Village PA
Emily Mehltretter Catholic Charities Buffalo, NY NY
Kelly College Youth Villages VA
Cheryl Purviance Family Life Counseling & Psychiatric Services OH

First Quarter 2013 – New MST Teams

We would also like to welcome the following new MST teams to the MST community.

Organization Team Name Location MST Type
Central and North West London NHS Tri-Borough MST London Tri-Borough MST UK MST
CAMH MST Portsmouth Portsmouth UK MST
CPFT Northamptonshire 1 UK MST
North American Family Institute (NAFI) NAFI MST PSB CT MST-PSB
Boys & Girls Village Inc. MST - PSB Milford/Bridgeport CT MST-PSB
Chile Ministry of Interior Valparaiso 1 Chile MST
Chile Ministry of Interior Maipu 1 Chile MST
Chile Ministry of Interior San Bernardo 1 Chile MST

News Briefs from Family Services Research Center at MUSC

"MST Research at a Glance"

In a recent Network Partner call, Keller Strother presented a brief overview of the latest in MST research. Click here to download the full PDF version, or here for the condensed version.

New Publications
The following MST-related published article is available:

422 McCart, M. R., Henggeler, S. W., Chapman, J. E., & Cunningham, P. B. (2012). System-level effects of integrating a promising treatment into juvenile drug courts. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43, 231-243.

All MST-related publications can be located at the Family Services Research Center's website.

 Regular Reminders

- Please review for accuracy the lists of Licensed MST programs on

- Medicaid Discussion Group - The next call is scheduled for July 24, at 1:00 pm ET. Interested in joining this call? Please e-email

- MST In-the-Loop e-Newsletter - Please contact to be added to the distribution list or to suggest topics for future editions.

- Free MSTI website training - Registration is limited so sign up early at Internet access is required to participate.

- Free MST jobs website, - You can post positions as well as review resumes of applicants who are looking for MST-related opportunities.

- Have News to Share? This newsletter has been developed as a communication tool to keep everyone well informed about news, events and issues that impact the greater MST community. We encourage you to explore the contents of this newsletter and provide us with your feedback. Feel free to make recommendations for what you would like to see in future issues. Suggestions can be directed to


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