The Matrix Model is an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment approach. This approach was designed to treat those with stimulant addictions such as cocaine or methamphetamine abuse. This model was developed in 1986 and the goal of the Matrix Model is to improve the quality of treatment for substance use disorders. This model has components of other treatment methods such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, relapse prevention, psychoeducation, 12-step support groups, and family therapy. The goal of this treatment is to provide stimulant users with the tools to stop using, avoid relapse, and stay in treatment. Individuals not only receive support and education for themselves but also for their family members. Family members are included in treatment and engage with counselors and other mental health professionals for help in understanding the addiction and the addict. Including family members in treatment has been shown to have an effect on the individual’s continued recovery.
This treatment model is a long-term outpatient program lasting approximately one year. Treatment if divided into two parts; intensive treatment and continuing care. The intensive phase lasts 16 weeks and provides group counseling, family education, and individual counseling. Once the individual has successfully completed this first 16 weeks, they move into the continuing care phase of treatment. During continuing care, individuals receive social support group sessions. These social sessions provide a way for the individual to socialize and interact with other individuals who are further along in the program. This resembles a mentoring approach to recovery and has many benefits. Continued care lasts for 36 weeks.
The Matrix Model has shown tremendous success in recovery centers that provide this type of intervention. It is considered an intensive outpatient program or IOP and any treatment center can implement this program. There are a few drawbacks related to this model of treatment. Some argue that this model should not be used if detox is needed for the stimulant addict. In addition, the highly structured approach may not work for all recovering addicts. This model of treatment also requires all clinical staff to be specially trained and supervised. Lastly, the time commitment, approximately one year, can be troublesome for some especially those that have demanding jobs or multiple outside the home responsibilities. This can apply both to the addict in recovery and their family members.