The Matrix Model for Treatment



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Outline of the Matrix Model® of chemical dependence treatment

The foundation of the Matrix Model® is a set of clinical protocols that have been constructed using the best established, empirically supported chemical dependence treatment principals. The manuals for these protocols have been developed and evaluated with funding from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) USA. These protocols include extensive assessment strategies, treatment placement guidelines, outpatient detoxification regimens, and structured outpatient options. The Matrix approach allows for maximal utilization of effective outpatient treatment methods. Although developed in USA the manuals have been used in Brazil; Curacao; Egypt; Israel; Mexico; Palestine; Slovakia; Spain; Switzerland; Thailand; Turkey; USA & Canada including Native American, Alaskan Native, Hawaiian Native and First Nations

The fundamentals of the Matrix Model® include: early recovery, relapse prevention, family education, conjoint sessions, individual and group sessions, urine tests, 12-Step involvement, relapse analysis and social support groups.

The Matrix® Intensive Outpatient Treatment experience involves:


Research studies have indicated that a minimum duration of 12 weeks of treatment is required to receive optimal benefit. Because of this finding, the 4-month Matrix Model® of Intensive Outpatient treatment is the most frequently recommended and selected program. Treatment materials are delivered primarily in group sessions that occur 3 times each week. Individual or conjoint sessions are provided to address specific problematic areas and to individualize the treatment episode. Times and days of the sessions are varied in an effort to meet the needs of clients’ schedules. A continuing care program is included following the intensive phase of treatment. The Social Support group meets weekly. Clients are encouraged to continue both in this group and in 12-Step meetings.

The Matrix Model ® is described in the Principles of Addiction Treatment booklet as providing a framework for engaging substance abusers in treatment and helping them achieve abstinence. Patients learn about issues critical to addiction and relapse, receive direction and support from a trained therapist, become familiar with self-help programs, and are monitored for drug use by urine testing. The program includes education for family members affected by the addiction.

The therapist functions simultaneously as teacher and coach, fostering a positive, encouraging relationship with the patient and using that relationship to reinforce positive behaviour change. The interaction between the therapist and the patient is realistic and direct but not confrontational or parental. Therapists are trained to conduct treatment sessions in a way that promotes the patient’s self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. A positive relationship between patient and therapist is a critical element for patient retention.

The Matrix® 16 week Intensive Outpatient Programme has the following key components:

Therapist support – Reports have consistently found that empathetic and directive support of a professional therapist is critical in developing a successful programme of recovery.

Group/Individual Participation – Research identified participation in group activities during treatment to be highly relevant to success.

12-Step or other Spiritual Group Involvement – Numerous outcomes reported demonstrate that patients who are involved in a 12-Step or other group recovery activity have far better outcomes than those who are not.

Relapse Prevention & Education – Substance abusers benefit from gaining information about how they become addicted, how they have been affected by addiction; what to do to prevent a relapse, and what to do if they do return to drug/alcohol use.

Family involvement – There is substantial research that clearly indicates better treatment outcomes for patients whose families are involved in the treatment process.

Structure - Chemical dependency treatment requires an explicit framework to give patients a clear understanding of the treatment requirements.


Matrix Institute treatment manuals are derived from other evidence based treatment methods to include elements of relapse prevention, family and group sessions, drug and alcohol education, and self-help involvement. These manuals are clinical guidelines, breaking down the model into the separate elements with corresponding patient worksheets.

Therapist manuals contain easy to read instructions for implementing the components of treatment and guides for each of the patient hand outs. Therapist manuals also contain duplicates of the patient handouts from the complementary patient manual.

Patient manuals are intended for use by treatment participants during a treatment episode and are intended to be used as take home reference for patients who have finished the formal treatment episode

Matrix manuals are intended to guide and structure a comprehensive treatment programme, and could be easily translated into the South African context and languages.

Evaluation / Monitoring

All tools for programme monitoring and evaluation have been developed by the Matrix Institute.

NB: This model is also excellent as continuing care for people who have received short term in-patient treatment.

For more information on the Matrix Model ® upcoming training seminars in South Africa, contact…
Sarah Fisher from S.M.A.R.T. (Substance Misuse : Advocacy, Research & Training)
Tel: +27 21 852 6065 - Fax: +27 21 852 6065 - e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Clinics, Drug Rehabs etc.

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Our facility is modelled after a healthy family environment allowing our participants to heal the internal damages and create a new future for their own families. Meteffect is situated in Polokwane, contact us today!



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