Matrix Model Substance Abuse Treatment

The Matrix Model for Teens and Young Adults is a comprehensive, organized set of evidence-based therapeutic interventions. It is an integrated treatment experience delivered with a cognitive/behavioral approach, permeated with a motivational interviewing style, and supplemented with contingency management. The 16-week intervention consists of drug cessation and relapse prevention groups, individual sessions for adolescents and family members, family sessions, peer recreational activities, 12-step meetings, and separate parent and adolescent education groups.

The structure of the program is flexible enough to be adapted to teens who need early stage intervening, who are experimenting and who have developed a dependency and those whose parents and caregivers are willing and able to participate as well as those who do not have that resource.


The Individual/Family Sessions are designed to orient the adolescent and family members to the program, establish rapport and encourage treatment compliance with the requirements. This is the only formal component of the program where adolescents and their family members meet together. These sessions serve a critical function in stabilizing the family system and engaging both the adolescent and the family members in the treatment process. They provide an opportunity to help families communicate, to assist in problem solving presenting crises and to support the entire family through the process of change. Family sessions are scheduled as early in treatment as possible and continue on a monthly basis at a minimum.

The Early Recovery Skills Group consists of eight 1- hour group sessions conducted biweekly during the first month of treatment. In this group, adolescents either receive the basic skills they need to achieve initial sobriety and/or participate in discussions designed to move them toward readiness to change. The early recovery skills group provides an introduction to basic cognitive-behavioral interventions and to the experience of being a group member utilizes motivational techniques and reinforces the value of 12-Step participation.

Adolescent Education Group consists of 1 hour weekly group sessions for 16 weeks. The sessions are designed for the adolescent drug users and/or abuser and are delivered in an interactive, educational group.  The groups are designed to address areas of missing or inaccurate information participants may have concerning the effects of drug and alcohol use and the degree to which they have a problem. Being exposed to valid information can encourage movement toward abstinence and an increased commitment to avoiding continued use.

The 16 weeks of Relapse Prevention Groups are designed to deliver information, support, and camaraderie for adolescents as they proceed through recovery. This group explores the clients’ ambivalence regarding change and promotes discussion around the value of abstinence. The focus of the group is on achieving a longer period of sobriety and learning ways to avoid relapse. Topics are geared to issues particularly relevant to the teenager. The Relapse Prevention Group component is the central activity in all the Matrix Model treatment programs.

The Parent Education Group consists of 1.5 hour weekly group sessions for 16 weeks. The group is designed to provide assistance in a supportive atmosphere for parenting adolescents who are abusing drugs and alcohol. Participants are taught skills specifically designed to help them better manage the process of change within their family during recovery. The focus is on presenting material intended to raise awareness of drug and alcohol use among youth and on learning effective parenting skills to manage family conflicts.

The Social Support Group is designed to help adolescents learn drug free socialization skills in a familiar, safe environment and develop new clean and sober friendships and activities.

The Parent Social Support Group provides an opportunity for parents to continue the support group that developed during the Education Group series. In this setting parents can remind each other of the skills acquired during the Education Group meetings, share problems, brain-storm solutions and support continued healthy parenting.

The 12-Step Meetings that are held on site for adolescents provides an opportunity for the participants to being utilizing a support system that will always be available to them when the need arises. The Matrix treatment model emphasizes the critical importance of using 12-Step programs (or another spiritual component) in the initial, intensive phase of treatment to provide ongoing support for the recovery process after the intensive phase of the program ends.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorder