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Are you or is someone you love addicted to cocaine or methamphetamines and in need of intensive outpatient treatment?

Well if so, once you start researching different types of intensive outpatient programs you’ll likely see that many run treatment from something called the Matrix Model.

And if you’re like most people…you’ll have no idea what that means!

So…What’s the Matrix Model?

The Matrix Model is a medium length intensive outpatient treatment program for people addicted to cocaine and other stimulants that combines a number of different forms of therapies with education and urine testing. It’s been around since the 80s and there’s a fair amount of evidence that proves its effectiveness.

A few facts:

  • The Matrix Model is a 3-times a week, 16 week intensive outpatient program that was developed over a 20 year period and which is targeted primarily at stimulant users (cocaine, methamphetamines etc). The 16 weeks of intensive outpatient treatment are typically followed by 36 additional weeks of less intensive continuing care.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) considers the Matrix Model an evidence based program. This means that a substantial amount of quality research proves that it works to reduce drug and alcohol use, increase psychosocial functioning and reduce risky behaviors.
  • The Matrix Model makes use of a number of different therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement, couples and family therapy, individual therapy, group therapy and 12 step facilitation.
  • It is designed to be informative in nature. Be the end of the program, graduates will have learned cognitive behavioral skills, relapse prevention techniques and early recovery skills
  • A trained therapist will guide each session and offer advice and support. The therapist within the Matrix Model acts like a teacher or coach and does engage in confrontation tactics. The therapist-client relationship is designed to enhance feelings of self worth and self esteem.
  • Loved ones typically have an opportunity to get involved in the recovery process during family education group sessions.
  • Clients in the program will have their urine tested for drug use on a regular basis.
  • Clients in the program will get an introduction to 12 steps programs.1

What Are Some of the Benefits of the Matrix Model?

The Matrix Model:

  • Helps people in recovery create a structure for life and gives each person a set of expectations to live-up to
  • Provides accurate information about drugs and recovery and teaches core cognitive behavioral concepts and skills
  • Gets the whole family involved and educated
  • Provides positive reinforcement for good efforts and change and helps people learn from setbacks and negative behaviors
  • Helps people get started with the 12 steps
  • Uses urine and blood alcohol testing to encourage honesty and legitimate work towards recovery2

What Evidence Supports the Matrix Model?

A number of clinical research studies have compared the effectiveness of The Matrix Model to treatment as usual.

  • In one study, people getting treatment within Matrix Model programs were 38% more likely to stay in treatment than people getting treatment as usual and 27% more likely to finish treatment.
  • In another study, people getting treatment within Matrix Model programs produced 25% more drug-free urine samples than people getting treatment as usual.3
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Page last updated Aug 15, 2016

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