The University of Arizona

Treatment Modalities and Treatment Settings for Illicit Drug Abuse
Psychosocial Treatment:
Matrix Model: An Example of Combined Psychosocial Treatments

Psychosocial treatments are often combined to enhance effectiveness.  A primary example is the Matrix Model which is widely and primarily used to treat problems related to stimulants, particularly methamphetamine.[1,2]

The Matrix Model is a comprehensive program that consists of six clinical areas:[3,4]

  • Individual therapy and conjoint therapy (often concurrent)
  • Early recovery
  • Relapse prevention
  • Family education
  • Social support
  • Urine testing

It is also an integrated therapeutic model encompassing:[3]

  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Couples and family therapy
  • Individual supportive/expressive psychotherapy and psycho-education
  • Twelve Step facilitation
  • Group therapy and social support

All the components of the Matrix Model are designed to implement one or more of the following outpatient principles:[5]

  • Create explicit structure and expectations
  • Establish a positive, collaborative relationship with the patient
  • Teach patients and their families empirical information and cognitive-behavioral concepts
  • Positively reinforce desired behavior change
  • Provide corrective feedback when necessary
  • Educate the family regarding stimulant abuse recovery
  • Introduce and encourage self-help participation
  • Use urinalysis and breath alcohol tests to monitor drug and alcohol use regularly and randomly

Treatment is provided on an intensive outpatient basis, and is delivered via a combination of group and individual sessions that take place about three times a week for a 16-week period, which is typically followed by a 36-week continuing care support group and 12-step program participation.[2]  All facets of the treatment are delivered in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.[1,5]



  • (1) Rawson RA, Marinelli-Casey P, Anglin MD, Dickow A, Frazier Y, Gallagher C, et al. A multi-site comparison of psychosocial approaches for the treatment of methamphetamine dependence. Addiction 2004;99(6):708-17.
  • (2) UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program. Treatment. Web 2006Available from: URL:
  • (3) Hazelden. The Matrix Model. Web 2007Available from: URL:
  • (4) Rawson RA, Gonzales R, Brethen P. Treatment of methamphetamine use disorders: an update. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2002 Sep;23(2):145-50.
  • (5) Obert JL, Brown AH, Zweben J, Christian D, Delmhorst J, Minsky S, et al. When treatment meets research: Clinical perspectives from the CSAT Methamphetamine Treatment Project. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2005 Apr;28(3):231-7.