NAFI Middletown Team Wins MST Sustained Excellence Award

June 29, 2021
MST model adherence award, NAFI Connecticut Middletown team.
From left, Middletown MST team members Michelle Posada, Emily Tyson (Team Supervisor), and Nicole Marotta. 

NAFI Connecticut’s MST (Multisystemic Therapy®) team in Middletown has been honored by MST Services with MST Sustained Excellence awards for adherence to the model by the therapists.

Team Supervisor Emily Tyson was given the Outstanding Supervisor Award for Team Adherence, and the full team, including Michelle Posada and Nicole Marotta, won the Sustained Excellence Award for Team Adherence.

MST Services developed the Multisystemic Therapy® approach to transforming the lives of troubled youth and their families, and partners with provider organizations like NAFI to use MST to treat at-risk youth, while also training providers to ensure clinical quality and consistency, and offering support services.

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“We would like to recognize the NAFI MST Middletown Team for all their hard work in sustaining therapist adherence to the model consistently,” Vernell Watson, the NAFI MST Assistant Program Director, said of the Team Adherence award.

“This award from MST Services speaks to the clinical skills of the team and their ability to provide MST treatment while adhering to the model,” Watson explained. “We would like to acknowledge that this award comes at a time when the team has been working very hard to provide MST treatment and engage our MST families, all while maintaining the engagement that is necessary to obtain the therapist adherence measures from the MST families. The NAFI family is proud to have the MST Middletown Team as one of our shining programs.”

“We would like to recognize Emily Tyson as the NAFI Middletown and Waterford Supervisor for her success in leading her MST Middletown team in meeting the target consistently for therapist model adherence measures,” Watson said of the Outstanding Supervisor Award. “This award brings you our warmest congratulations and it is an honor to be selected for this award by MST Services. It speaks highly of how well you,  your leadership and supervisor clinical training skills are perceived and appreciated. We are proud to say that you are a valued member of our NAFI family.”

MST is an evidence-based treatment model and Tyson explained that in order for therapists to be successful in model adherence, they must act in accordance with the principles. 

Tyson explained the principles of the model: 

  • Finding the Fit (Assessing the identified problem and understanding how that problem plays out)
  • Focusing on positives and strengths
  • Increasing responsibility (We utilize interventions to promote responsible behaviors by caregivers and client)
  • Being present focused (We are working with what is happening right now)
  • Targeting sequences (We use this intervention to understand the breakdown of behaviors from all aspects of a client’s life, including school/peers/community/family, etc.)
  • Developmentally appropriate interventions
  • Continuous efforts (We are an intensive service; we start with meeting families in home for 3 hours a week and begin to taper down as progress is made, and we are made available to our families 24 hours so that they have constant support throughout treatment, which can increase successful outcomes for families)
  • Evaluation and accountability (Intervention effectiveness is evaluated from multiple perspectives with MST team members taught to avoid blaming family and place responsibility on positive treatment outcomes)
  • Generalization (Interventions are designed to address any problems that may come up after treatment and give parents the ability to generalize what they learned to new behaviors or to other children in the home)

“As we provide treatment to families, we are always creating interventions and taking steps towards goals to follow all nine principles,” Tyson said. “The award is based on a therapist adherence model collection rate, and our team was the highest across all states as being adhered to the model.”

Noting that a third party calls families and asks questions in order to develop an adherence score for therapists, Tyson explained how the system leads to positive outcomes: 

“This data is collected because evidence has shown that the higher the adherence score, the more likely the outcome of treatment will be successful. It is a good thing because it allows us to see where there are strengths and struggles within our team. When we identify struggles that therapists might be having, we work in group and in individual supervision to help therapists increase their skill. As a therapist increases skill, they are more likely to have successful outcomes with families, which means the families have been able to make successful changes in their home. It is helpful for supervisors because we cannot go to every session with therapists, so it allows us the insight on what might be the breakdown of barriers to treatment, and allows for us to work with therapists to provide support.”


NAFI CT is a multi-service agency that provides programming, consultation, and individualized support services to youth, families, and adults in a variety of settings across Connecticut. Our core services include foster care, developmental services, residential treatment, and in-home services and consultations. We take a respectful and dignified approach to all care services, with the mission of empowering individuals and strengthening families. To learn more, call NAFI CT at 860.284.1177 or see the website at