Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 55, Issue 7, pp 1152–1164 | Cite as

“Not Just One, It’s Both of Us”: Low-Income Mothers’ Perceptions of Structural Family Therapy Delivered in a Semi-rural Community Mental Health Center

  • Addie WeaverEmail author
  • Catherine G. Greeno
  • Rachel Fusco
  • Tina Zimmerman
  • Carol M. Anderson
Original Paper


Qualitative methods were used to explore mothers’ perceptions of structural family therapy (SFT) delivered in a semi-rural community mental health clinic. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen mothers who received SFT after seeking services for their children. Thematic analysis suggests mothers found SFT acceptable and valuable. Mothers reported using SFT strategies to regain parental authority, which they believed improved their ability to manage their child’s needs and decreased their own stress. SFT also increased some mothers’ receptivity to individual treatment. Mothers identified their low dose of treatment and lack of father involvement as impediments to improvement, raising concerns about intervention sustainability.


High-risk families Maternal treatment engagement Qualitative methods Treatment acceptability 



The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and or publication of this article: NIMH R24 MH 0066872: Collaboration to promote engagement of low-income clients, Carol Anderson, PI.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Michigan School of Social WorkAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of Pittsburgh School of Social WorkPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.University of Georgia School of Social WorkAthensUSA
  4. 4.Allegheny Health Choices, Inc.PittsburghUSA

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