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What Is the Matrix Model?

When you begin looking into drug and alcohol rehabilitation, you start to learn about different methodologies. Do you want cognitive behavioral therapy? What about dialectical behavioral therapy? What role will family behavioral therapy have?

It can be a lot to take in when you are still in the throes of an addiction. Plus, chronic drug use changes the way that your brain works and you may not have the attention span that you used to. How can you take in all of that information?

Yes, it can be hard. But, the best first step is just doing a little research, like you are right now. If reading this still leaves you with questions, you can always contact people at 12 step meetings to find out about what worked for them, comb the web for information, or seek help from experts. For example, the folks at SubstanceAbuse.org can answer questions, link you with resources, and direct you to treatment centers that match your criteria. They can be a big help; just call 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to contact them any time you need to.

One treatment methodology that you may not have heard much about is the Matrix Model and it specifically engages stimulant users. If you have a problem with stimulants, like methamphetamine or cocaine, this treatment could be quite effective for you.


the Matrix Model

The Matrix Model utilizes social support group sessions.

The Matrix method dates back to the 1980s, when it was developed in response to the growing number of cocaine and methamphetamine users entering the treatment system. At that time, the primary group of people being served were alcoholics and the methods used to help them were relatively ineffective on stimulant users.

Experts at the Matrix Institute used a number of treatment methods as a foundation and built their method atop them. Treatments used include “elements of relapse prevention, cognitive–behavioral, psychoeducation, and family approaches, as well as 12-Step program support.”

The Basics

The Matrix Method is a structured treatment approach. Clients receive info, help in forming a substance-free lifestyle, and the support needed to accomplish and preserve abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

During the treatment, a therapist works to be both a teacher and a coach. They nurture an optimistic, reassuring relationship with the client and use that bond to inspire positive change. Don’t worry, the relationship isn’t meant to be parental in any way. Instead, the interactions will be direct and genuine. Your self-respect, your dignity, and your self-esteem will be supported.

Counselling Sessions

Over a period of 16 weeks, clients participate in quite a few intensive treatment sessions per week. These are all outpatient situations. There are 5 types of counselling sessions:

  • Individual/Conjoint family sessions (3 sessions)
  • Early Recovery Skills group sessions (8 sessions)
  • Relapse Prevention group sessions (32 sessions)
  • Family Education group sessions (12 sessions)
  • Social Support group sessions (36 sessions)

In addition, clients are familiarized with support groups like 12 step programs, taught time management and scheduling, and mandated to regular drug and alcohol testing. Individual sessions will use worksheets from detailed treatment manuals.

Is Substance Abuse Counseling Really Necessary?

Does It Work?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research on the Matrix Model has shown participants have significant decreases in drug and alcohol use, advances in psychological areas, and decreases in dangerous sexual behaviors.

In a review of the Methamphetamine Treatment Project, and 18-month study conducted between 1999 and 2001, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration summarized the results. Although “No significant differences in substance use and functioning were found between TAU [treatment as unusual] and Matrix groups at discharge and at 6-month follow-up,” the Matrix Model participants did show:

  • Consistently better treatment retention rates than those participating in treatment as usual
  • A 27 percent greater likelihood than their treatment as usual peers to complete treatment
  • A 31 percent greater likelihood to have meth-free urine analysis tests while in treatment than their treatment as usual peers

Both groups showed a 65 percent rate of negative urine tests at a 6-month follow-up.

If the Matrix Model seems like a good way to break your addiction with stimulants, you should be looking for treatment centers that offer it. We can help. Just give us a call at 800-487-1890 (Who Answers?) to get started.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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