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Kevin Ducray Senior Clinical Psychologist The Drug Treatment Centre Board November 2006. Individual Therapy Approaches to Adolescent Substance Misuse Introduction Challenging and intimidating? In its own infancy (or "adolescence")? Complex clinical condition

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Kevin Ducray

Senior Clinical Psychologist

The Drug Treatment Centre Board

November 2006


Individual Therapy Approaches to Adolescent Substance Misuse

  • Introduction
  • Challenging and intimidating?
    • In its own infancy (or "adolescence")?
    • Complex clinical condition
    • Associated with co morbid psychiatric/ psychological disorders
    • Client- related barriers to treatment
    • Interplay of biological, psychological and social difficulties
    • Role of politics, economics, culture and ideology in shaping attitudes?
    • (Disease, abstinence, confrontation, criminalisation versus harm- reduction, pragmatism, collaboration, egalitarianism)

Paucity of research on effectiveness of adolescent psychological treatments

Adult treatments well researched

Paucity of research on adolescent psychological interventions

Adolescent studies often suffer from the following methodological problems :

small sample sizes

lack of randomized sample assignment

inadequate measures and descriptions of patterns and levels of use

wide ranges of levels of participant drug use (casual / abuse/ dependence)

impact of dual diagnosis

high drop out rates

assessment tools loaned from adult treatment

researchers own/ self developed tools

scales' psychometric properties often unknown

inconsistent methodology in terms of time scales (e.g. of prior use, post treatment outcome)

variable methods of determining level and frequency of use

what constitutes successful outcome?

(Source: Waldron and Kaminer 2004; Kaminer 2001; Muck et al. 2001)


Tendency to extrapolate empirically validated adult models to adolescent populations.

Clinical Differences between Adults and Adolescents:

More susceptible to development of dependence syndromes

Rapid progression from casual use to dependence

Higher degree of co- occurring psychopathology

Psychopathology precedes the onset of substance use

Psychopathology often does not remit with abstinence

Greater constellation of needs and problems (often inter- related)

Dependence impacts upon developmental pathways

Developmental variability between adolescents

Need for flexible/ tailored approach?

Interventions must be sensitive to the above differences

Greater intensity and duration of treatment than adults?

Habilitative as opposed to rehabilitative strategies?

(Source: Muck, R et al, 2001)


Adolescent Drug Abuser's Needs/ Challenges:

Psychological Resistance/ Ambivalence



Low frustration tolerance/ Impulsive


Emotionally Fragile

Dependency and motivation to change?

Physical Physical illness Hep C/ HIV

Basic Needs Unmet (Maslow)

Social No close relationships outside the context of drug use

Difficulties of relating to authority figures

Pattern of “downward social drift"

Power of peer pressure

Predilection for “testing limits”

Disruptive deviant associates disrupt/ undermine progress

Violence and harm (debts, dealers, disputes, pimps and family)

Absence of effective pro- social “reinforcers” that compete with drugs?



Negative impact upon development of:

Coping skills

Pro- social identity formation

Interpersonal skills

Communication skills

Educational/ Vocational skills

Family responsibilities

Work responsibilities

In extrapolating evidence- based adult models, one needs to be extremely mindful of:

the unique needs


developmental issues

problems characteristic

- of young people who misuse drugs


Individual Therapy Approaches to Adolescent Substance Misuse


(1) Provide brief overview of approaches regarded suitable/ appropriate for adolescent substance misuse

(2) Sensitise delegates to their many existing competencies (skills/ knowledge/ attributes)

Generic competencies required to assist adolescents with drug problems.

Addiction shares principles of genesis, acquisition, and maintenance with other psychological disorders

Addiction rarely occurs in absence of related psychological problems

Evidence based approaches for treating alcohol/ drug problems are familiar to many practitioners

Cultivating a respectful relationship, accurate empathy, individual psycho education, instilling hope is generic and is associated with positive outcomes.

(Obviously would not detract from the practitioner's need to obtain the necessary training and supervision should they wish to formally apply these approaches within the context of a defined care plan)


Motivational Interviewing

(William R Miller and Stephen Rollnick)

“Motivational Interviewing is a directive, client- centred counselling style for eliciting behaviour change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence"(Miller, R and Rollnick, S, 1991, pg. 8)

Explicitly egalitarian and respectful

Most influential, exciting and promising recent therapeutic development within addiction?

Spirit of MI

Motivation elicited not imposed

Client's role to articulate and resolve their ambivalence

Therapist's role to highlight ambivalence impasse, guide client to a resolution that triggers change

Persuasion/ confrontation counter productive

Quiet, respectful and eliciting, never argumentative or confrontative

"Resistance and denial" not client traits but product of therapeutic interaction

Therapeutic relationship more a partnership than a expert/ recipient role

The "spirit" or interpersonal style gives rise to therapeutic behaviours

Notion of "set of techniques being used on people" is an antithesis to MI


Recommended strategies for building motivation for change:

'Open ended' questions

Listen reflectively



Ascertain readiness for change

(e.g. Explore advantages and disadvantages for problem behaviour)

Elicit self- motivational statements

Goal is for client to realise cost of problem behaviour exceeds any benefits

Strengthen commitment to change

Negotiate a treatment plan

Support Self-Efficacy - “There is no right way to change”


Particular Utility?

“Angry” clients

Cross cultural therapeutic relationships/ Minority groups

Low motivation, ambivalence, reluctance to change

Problem behaviours are highly rewarding

Produce/ evoke rapid, internally motivated change

No significant psychological/ psychiatric pathology

MI shown to improve outcomes of subsequent other evidence based interventions

A safe and economic starting point for one to one psychosocial therapy

May be suitable framework to initially address client motivation, who once motivated to change, can be assisted with skill development?

(Source: Project MATCH Research Group 1999, Miller et al 1995, Miller 2006)

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

MET- 4 planned, structured and individualised check up and follow- up sessions for problem drinkers

MI is the “style”, philosophy or approach used


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Heterogeneous mix of interventions aimed at improving cognitive and behavioural skills to change drug related behaviour

A combination of Cognitive Therapy (CT) and Behaviour Therapy (BT)

BT - seeks to inhibit maladaptive behaviour by reinforcing desired behaviour and extinguishing undesired behaviour

CT- “a system of psychotherapy that attempts to reduce excessive emotional reactions and self defeating behaviour by modifying the faulty or erroneous thinking and maladaptive beliefs that underlie these reactions” (Beck et al, 1991, pg. 10)

CT- facilitates positive behaviour change by examining and changing distorted patterns of thinking.

CBT- integrates ‘cognitive restructuring' with behaviour modification techniques and skills generation

Abnormal thinking changed by:

Verbal techniques (explanation, discussion, questioning and testing of assumptions)

Behavioural actions which can be used to change the way someone thinks

(“Learn from their experience”, use real life experience to challenge faulty cognitions )

Behaviourally there is an emphasis on:

Increasing the ability to cope with (interpersonal and intra personal) situations that precipitate or maintain drug use


Overcoming skills deficits


Schema (fundamental core beliefs) giving rise to enduring assumptions, attitudes and thoughts which set in motion problematic behaviours may be focus of attention

Drug use (according to Social Learning Theory) is also functionally related to major life problems

Addressing this broad range of problems will be more effective than addressing drug use alone

Treating concurrent disorders and other life problems seen to be a legitimate focus

Emphasis on learning and practicing a variety of coping skills (some cognitive and some behavioural).

Can be didactic in early stages

CBT- Practitioners approach drug use behaviour as a Learned Behaviour

Substance misuse and related problems are learned behaviours

Initiated and maintained in a particular environmental context

As behaviours are learned so they can altered by application of learning principles


Operant conditioning- focus on important and particular reinforcers (+ and -)

Manage ("extinguish") urges

Explore reinforcers for competing behaviours

Classical conditioning- pairing: Paraphernalia, places, people, times, mood states, feelings associated with the various stages of drug use

Preoccupation, planning, procurement, use

Anticipate and avoid high-risk situations (settings, times, places which serve as triggers or stimulus cues)

Social Learning Model- Modelling/ - “copying and watching others”

Incorporates classical and operant learning principles

Recognises influence of environment on behaviour acquisition

Acknowledges role of cognitive processes (how environmental influences are appraised and perceived)

Drug use and misuse thus influenced by:

Observation and imitation of parents, siblings, peers, role models

Social reinforcement

Anticipated effects/ Expectancies

Direct experience of drug's effect being rewarding

Self efficacy beliefs


Specific techniques include:

Self Monitoring/ Diaries/ Logs/ Mood monitoring

Graded Task Assignment/ Activity Scheduling/ Behavioural contracting

Avoidance of Stimulus Cues

Distraction/ Engagement in incompatible actions

Modelling/ Role play/ Response and Behaviour Rehearsal/ Refusal Skills

Coping Skills to manage/ resist urges to use

Focus on drug effects/ expectancies/ consequences of use/ Decisional analysis

Use of Flash Cards

Communication Skills/ Conflict resolution skills/ Social skills training/ Assertiveness Skills

Problem Solving Skills

Self Image

Mood Regulation

Relaxation training

Anger Management

Clarification of role of cognitions in challenging situations/

In situ and in vivo practice to manage threatening situations

Recognition/ challenge and correction of inaccurate/ distorted thoughts

Challenge/ review maladaptive core beliefs/ schema (self, world, others, future)

(Re) lapse analysis (preparation, prevention and feedback)

Psycho- education

Progressive Muscle Relaxation/ Autogenics Training


Positive Features

Problem- focussed; perceived as relevant to the adolescent's difficulties

Not complex or esoteric

Collaborative- the client is an active equal

Emphasis on personal responsibility for change/ Empowering

Can employ familiar, jargon free language (“homework” assignments; role play”, “practice”)

Optimistic outlook/ “Cheap and cheerful”

Clear and negotiated structure


Indicated for severe dependence and higher “psychiatric severity”, retained drug using networks, the motivated

Relatively large and positive evidence base, esp. in treatment of alcohol and cannabis misuse

Differential effect between adult cocaine and opiate users with greater effect for opiate users

The unique mechanisms of change of CBT remain to be more fully understood

Quality of the therapeutic relationship is critical

(Source: Project MATCH 1996, Beck et al. 1979, Carroll 1996, Crits- Christoph et al. 1999; Woody et al. 1983 and 1995)

Consistent empirical evidence CBT associated with significant and clinically meaningful reductions in adolescent substance misuse

Substantial empirical evidence supporting efficacy of CBT for adolescent substance use disorders

CBT an efficacious intervention for youths with substance use related disorders and related problem behaviours

Effectiveness with adolescent suffering from problems/ other disorders known to co- occur with drug use well established

(Source: Waldron and Kaminer, 2004)


Relapse Prevention

G Marlatt and J.R Gordon

Relapse notoriously high

Pattern, process and circumstances for relapse are similar across addictive behaviours

RP a behavioural self control programme based on CBT strategies

Self-management program :

1) help clients maintain gains achieved in addictive behaviors treatment

2) as a stand alone programme

Strategies designed to facilitate abstinence and help those who experience relapse

Initially developed for problem drinkers, later adapted for cocaine dependency

RPT programs have also been developed specifically for co-occurring disorders

Recognizes that therapeutic progress occurs in gradual increments or stages of change

Humane and pragmatic

Emphasizes self-management and rejects labelling clients with traits like "alcoholic" or "drug addict."


Major components

(1) Aimed at helping clients anticipate and avoid an initial slip or lapse

(2) Designed to reduce the intensity, duration, and harmful consequences of any slips that do occur

(3) Following a lapse, to encourage clients to continue their journey and accept that change involves both advances and setbacks.

(4) Development of skills to increase ability to deal with these high risk situations

(5) Learn to create more balanced lifestyle (Engage in Meditation, Exercise, Spiritual Practices)

Encouraging evidence RPT is an effective psychosocial treatment for alcohol and drug problems

Effective for poly- drug use when alcohol is one of the substances misused

Skills learnt during interventions remain after completion of treatment

Gains maintained for 12 months

(Source: Carroll 1996; Carroll et al. 1991 and 1994; Irving et al. 1999; Marlatt and Gordon 1985)


The Matrix Model

Richard Rawson, Ph.D

Intensive 16 week outpatient “framework” for helping clients achieve abstinence (esp. stimulants)

Weekly aftercare sessions

Draws upon other tested modalities (Urine testing, family, group, social support and self- help approaches)

Focus on the fundamentals of stabilisation, abstinence, maintenance and relapse prevention

Individual therapeutic relationship is seen to be critical for client retention

Teacher and a coach

Empathic and directive, support critical

Role is to give clients the knowledge, structure and support to achieve abstinence

Clients learn about issues critical to addiction and relapse

(Early recovery skills; Drug education; Relapse prevention; Relapse analysis)

Therapeutic relationship is positive and encouraging

Realistic and direct, not parental, confrontational (or "therapy" in the classical sense)

Self esteem, dignity and self worth is promoted in sessions

Has been manualised into systematic treatment protocols

Shown to:

Facilitate statistically significant reductions in drug/ alcohol use (effective across substances)

Improve psychological indicators

Reduce high-risk sexual behaviours

(Source: Huber et al. 1997; Rawson et al. 1995)


Supportive Expressive Psychotherapy (Adapted for heroin and cocaine abuse)

Time limited, focussed, psycho dynamic treatment

Concentrates on:

Role of drugs in relation to problem feelings and behaviours

Impact of inner struggles on behavioural/ emotional problems

Exploration of how problems and difficulties can be solved without resorting to drug use

Major features:

Use of supportive techniques to assist clients feel at ease in relating their personal experiences

Use of expressive techniques to help clients recognise and resolve interpersonal and relationship difficulties

Adult clients on MMT with mental health difficulties who were exposed to this intervention had:

1) Lower cocaine use and required less methadone for opiate difficulties

2) Improved outcomes for opiate users with psychiatric problems on MMT

3) Maintained gains for longer

Has been manualised for treatment of opiate and cocaine dependence

(Source: Luborsky 1984; Woody et al. 1987)


Behavioural Therapy for Adolescents

Unwanted behaviour can be changed by:

Demonstration of the desired behaviour

Agreed upon sets of behaviours to be changed

Daily or weekly goals

Rewarding the incremental steps made toward achieving these goals

Equipping the client gain the following types of control:

Stimulus Control

Avoid situations associated with drug use

Increase time spent in activities incompatible with drug use

Urge Control

Help clients recognise and change thoughts/ feelings/ plans that lead to use

Social Control

Involving significant others in helping the client avoid drugs

Significant others can contribute to therapeutic assignments/ reinforce desired behaviours

Therapeutic behaviours can include:

Completing assignments

Rehearsing desired behaviours

Recording and monitoring progress

Receipt of rewards and privileges for accomplishing assigned/ negotiated goals

Urine samples are collected on a regular and structured manner to monitor chemical use

More effective than supportive counselling

Demonstrated to help adolescents attain and maintain drug abstinence

Improvements shown in related indices such as school attendance, quality of relationships, depression and alcohol use

(Source: Azrin et al 1994 and 1994)


Solution Focussed Brief Therapy

Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg

Initially developed for low- income, socially disadvantaged clients with serious drug and alcohol problems

Treatment interventions concentrate and focus on the presenting or most immediate problem

Two essential components:

1) Potential solutions are based on “Exceptional Moments”, i.e. when the problem does not overpower,

overwhelm or incapacitate the client’s ability to function

Therapist attempts to discern what it is that the client is already doing which might contribute to problem resolution

2) A determination of what life would be like without the problem, or with it solved?

Knowledge of client’s goals, desired ‘life destinations’ increases the likelihood of success.

This model stresses that the problem and solution may not necessarily be related

The type of drug used is not viewed as a critical determinant in choice of treatment

Model is designed to help clients exploit their own unique strengths and resources in problem resolution

Approved by Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services (US) as an Evidence- based Practice


Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment (IDDT)

Robert Drake, Susan Essock, Andrew Shaner, Kenneth Minkhoff et al

Many people with addictions have co- occurring mental illness

(>60% of adolescents: Bukstein et al. 1992)

IDDT offers concurrent mental health and addiction interventions in same setting

Hope, optimism, and a positive atmosphere are core beliefs

Other’s recovery is used to promote a positive expectation

A personalised treatment plan for both mental health and addiction problems

Individualised treatments are determined by stage of recovery

Interventions are structured in a stage- wise fashion given their relative significance to treatment

(Some services are important during the earlier phases of treatment and vice versa)

Interventions are comprehensive and long- term

Interventions include:

Psycho- education about client’s illnesses and conditions

Relationship counselling and living skills

Help with budgeting and money management

Employment advice

Specialised counselling focussing on symptom management

Approved by Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services (US) as an Evidence- based Practice


Individualised Drug Counselling

Emphasis on stopping or reducing drug use

Focus on short term behavioural goals

Strategies and tools to help attain and maintain abstinence

12 Step participation is strongly encouraged

Also addresses areas of impaired psycho- social functioning salient to drug use:

involvement with negative peer groups

criminal activities

interpersonal and family relations


Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF) Therapy

(Joseph Nowinski)

Facilitates active participation in AA/ NA

AA seen as primary factor responsible for recovery

Widely used internationally

Addiction/ alcoholism a spiritual and medical "disease"

Must be managed through- out life

Recovery equated with abstinence

Brief, structured, manual driven approach


Implemented on an individual basis in 12- 15 sessions

Treatment based on spiritual, cognitive and behavioural principles that form the basis of AA and NA fellowships

Template: 12- Step Programme- stepped sequence of treatment and lifestyle goals


Decisions regarding cessation of drug and alcohol use

An action plan for lifestyle change

Correction of past wrongs where possible, continue a recovery plan for the rest of life)

Increasing scientific attention:

Greater abstinence at 12 months than other approaches (Project MATCH 1996)

AA/ NA enhances outcome when component of ongoing formal interventions

Beneficial effect “additive” rather than independent

Stand-alone AA/ NA attendance does not improve outcome

“Dose effect” found

Merit in encouraging 12 step attendance as an adjunct to formal treatment.

Increasingly accepted by clinicians?

(Source: Project MATCH 1996; Alford et al. 1991; Fiorentine1999; Fiorentine and Hillhouse 2000; Winters et al. 1999 and 2000)


Contingency Management Treatments

Nancy M. Petry

Widely used in substance misuse research

Gaining popularity despite some attitudinal resistance

Clients awarded tangible positive reinforcers for objective behaviour change

Vouchers for negative urine samples

Clinic managed account

Staff purchase requested items (audiovisual equipment, sports goods, clothing, cinema tickets etc.)

Positive effects unambiguously demonstrated when compared to traditional treatments

Almost doubles average period of abstinence when added to psychotherapy

Barriers - cost

- attitudes, esp in parts of the world where abstinence orientated, confrontational approaches dominate

Prize Contingency Management - as efficacious as the voucher system

- costs reduced by two thirds

Some political and ideological criticisms - “ the technique "mimics gambling"

- “why pay addicts what they should do anyway?”

Payments to drug users have rarely induced drug use and have not led to an increase in gambling

Improves retention and stimulant use abstinence in non- methadone settings

Increases proportion of drug negative samples submitted in methadone settings

(Source: Petry 2006)


Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) with Vouchers

Developed as individual counselling approach (alcoholism)

CRA with Vouchers is an extensive 14- 24 week out patient therapy

Initially designed for cocaine addiction

Used for cocaine dependent clients who use alcohol/ MMT patients who use cocaine

Goals: Achieve abstinence for sufficient duration to develop life skills to sustain abstinence

Reduce alcohol consumption

Clients attend one- two psychotherapeutic sessions weekly aimed at:

Improving family relations

Developing skills to reduce drug consumption

Vocational/ educational related issues

Developing new recreational interests, activities,social networks

Vouchers received for drug (esp. opiates and cocaine) negative samples (various systems)

Vouchers are exchanges for goods which are consistent with a drug (esp. opiates and cocaine) free lifestyle

Cocaine or Heroin positive urines reset value of voucher to initial baseline level

Focus on fostering engagement and a systematic gain in periods of abstinence

Voucher- Based Reinforcement Therapy in Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT)

Very similar to above model


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Modified for Substance Abuse (DBT- S)

DBT adapted for adolescents

Marsha Linehan

DBT increasingly extended to older adolescents with addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health issues

(Suicidal concerns, deliberate self harm, poor emotional and impulse control,dramatic interpersonal styles and impaired interpersonal skills)

Included as:

Adolescent alcohol use disorders predictors of adult borderline personality disorder (Thatcher et al, 2005)

Individuals with BPD often suffer from alcohol and substance abuse (Benjamin, 1993 *)

A complicated reciprocal relationship exists between BPD and drugs (Stone, 1993 *)

Individuals with BPD are characterised by drug seeking behaviour (relief and escape)-( Millon,1996 *)

Individuals with BPD are "the best candidates for developing addictive disorders" (Richards, 1993 *)

The treatment of any character disorder is the road to recovery for addiction (Khantzian et al, 1990 *)

"...borderline patients pose tremendous challenges to therapists who are working diligently to help them overcome addictions to drugs" and

"As separate identities, substance abuse and...the borderline syndrome are difficult to treat. In combination, the clinical picture becomes extremely challenging indeed" (Beck et al, 1993)

*Cited in Ekleberry, 2000

The borderline schema "I'm bad and deserve to be destroyed" supports self harm, self sabotage and hatred

- would run contrary to the goals of self interest which commonly appeal to most other clients

- motivate avoidance of treatment strategies aimed at personal achievement, recovery or wellness


Primary strategies to promote validation (acceptance and understanding) and problem solving (change)

Modes of therapy:

1) Individual psychotherapy (the main basis of treatment)

‘Patient and Therapists Agreement’ is significant

Accepting but encouraging of change

Centred and firm, yet flexible when required

Nurturing but benevolently demanding

Clear about their personal limits

Treat with respect

Implicit- not able to stop the client from harming herself

Techniques include

Contingency management

Cognitive therapy

Exposure based therapies

2) Group skills training

3) Telephone coaching between sessions

Skills taught/ imparted

Mindfulness (focussed attention and awareness to the here and now, Zen meditative techniques)

Emotion regulation (changing and reducing distressing emotional states)

Distress tolerance (tolerating intense emotional states that cannot be changed)

Interpersonal effectiveness (maintain sound relationships, self esteem and asserting needs and objectives)

With modification DBT has been shown to be effective in treating addiction disorders for women and has also been adapted for adolescents (Linehan,1997)


Brief Interventions


Frequently used for maladaptive drug use (esp. alcohol, cannabis)

Clients not yet dependent, few problems

Goal moderate drinking as opposed to abstinence?

Designed for use by professionals not specialised in addiction

Little time/ few resources


Provision of self help materials

Brief assessment

Provision of advice (in a one off session),

Assessment of readiness to change (motivational interview),

Problem solving

Goal setting

Relapse prevention, harm reduction

Follow- up

Brief Interventions


Major elements summarised by acronym FRAMES




Menu of strategies


Self efficacy

Restricted to 5 or less sessions, ranging from a few minutes to an hours duration

Not considered suitable for clients with:

more complex problems

psychological/ psychiatric issues

severe dependence

poor literacy skills

difficulties related to cognitive impairment

Can result in significant gains at minimum cost

Does not replace the need for specialist alcohol and drug treatments


Individual Psychoeducation

Seldom an independent intervention

Inherent to good care, engagement, establishment of therapeutic alliance

Provision of information at appropriate level or detail

Stress client is not alone

Describe what improvements can be expected

Instill hope

Describe the treatment modalities that work

Suggest and recommend treatment plan

Invite questions and discuss concerns

Reinforce and repeat

A major component of all good clinical care and all self help programmes

Evidence that understanding about condition/ treatment related to adherence

Knowledge has been shown to improve outcome

(Craighead et al, 1998)

Treatment that harms or is of little positive effect

Boot camp (etc.) popularised by the media

Politically, societally and economically popular (faddish and cost effective)

Data suggests these approaches do not work but also increase problematic behaviours

(Dishion et al. 1999)

Confrontational Counselling/ Psychoanalytic Therapy seen to have little or no effect


Meta- Analysis

Major systematic review of alcohol interventions (Miller et al. 1995)

MI; Skills based Cognitive Approaches, Community Reinforcement- effective

Confrontational Counselling, Psycho- analytic approaches, lectures of little use

CBT and 12- Step Approaches achieved equal results

Irrespective of pure or dual diagnosis or mandated to treatment

(Source: Ouimette, Finney and Moos 1997)

Project MATCH 1996 (largest addiction trial ever conducted)

12 Step Facilitation, Cognitive Behavioural Skills and Motivational Enhancement Therapy were equally highly effective

Project MATCH 3 year follow- up (1999):

Standardised, manual based protocols, and

High level supervision and training

- optimises outcome, irrespective of intervention


In 2000 NIDA released the first ever science-based guide to the treatment of drug addiction. Based on a 30 year review. Findings included:

No single treatment for everyone.

Treatment needs to be readily available.

Effective treatment attends to multiple needs, not just drug use.

Treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified to ensure plan meets changing needs.

Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical for effectiveness.

Counselling is critical for treatment of addictions.

Mental health and substance problems should be treated in an integrated way.

Treatment need not be voluntary to be effective.

Recovery frequently requires multiple treatment episodes.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse (2000). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment. Washington, D.C.: NIDA. )


Effectiveness versus efficacy

Controlled psychological treatment outcome studies for children and adolescents treatment done in real life representative clinics (effective) shows far more modest effects in comparison to those done in pure laboratory (efficacy) settings.

Many studies of clinic based adolescent treatments have found no significant effects.

(Weisz et al. 1992)

This is a concern in psychological treatment research and why it is recommended that clinicians engage in routine and systematic monitoring of the outcome of their clinic based work.

It has been repeatedly suggested that the similarities rather than the differences between psychological treatment approaches may be primarily responsible for change. (Wampold, 2001)


What seem to be the common features of models discussed in relation to the above:

Quality of the therapeutic relationship is critical

Engagement and retention emphasised

Respectful and non- confrontational

An optimistic expectation of positive behaviour change

A focus on skills generation

Didactic in nature

Imparting of knowledge and understanding

Clear focus on readily identified and explicit drug use related goals

Unpretentious and jargon free

Focus on observable behaviour change (increases or decreases)

Inclusion of homework and other exercises

Emphasises the support and involvement of significant others/ family

(i.e. social network based interventions)

Encouragement of more effective communication with others

Focus on relevant quality of life- related problems

Drug and psychological difficulties treated in integrated manner

Structured, standardised, manual based approaches

Emphasis on self efficacy