When Matrix Institute on Addictions founders Jeanne L. Obert, Michael McCann and Richard Rawson, Ph.D first opened its doors to drug and alcohol addiction patients in 1984, neither of them could have imagined the significant impact they would make in the years ahead.
Today, the company is marking 30 years of important milestones in the field of substance abuse treatment – always with an eye toward the next groundbreaking contributions they can make in the decades ahead.
Matrix exists to help those who misuse, abuse or are addicted to alcohol or drugs (prescription or illicit substances) find a way into recovery; to promote a better understanding of addictions; and to improve the quality and availability of addiction treatment services.
Obert, who serves as Board Chair of Matrix Institute, said they differ from other programs in several ways.
“It is an intensive outpatient program,” Obert said. “People come more than once a week to treatment sessions at the center. They generally stay in treatment for two to six months.”
She said Matrix therapists are trained mental health professionals who have acquired or are working toward Master’s degrees or beyond.
She added that Matrix has successfully treated thousands of clients in the past 30 years.
“Matrix was started as a way to translate the findings from research with regard to stimulant addiction so that ordinary people who were struggling with addiction issues could understand what had happened to them,” she said. “When Matrix began in the 1980s, most of the treatment programs that existed had primarily opiate dependent clientele or alcohol abusers in treatment.”
With the advent of the stimulant epidemic – first cocaine, then methamphetamine – the existing treatments were ineffective, according to Obert.
She said Matrix used the research that explained what had happened to the brains of the stimulant abusers and developed an organized, easy-to-follow set of handouts for clients and instructions for treatment providers, taking the brain changes into consideration.
“The Manuals also included suggestions for utilizing existing self-help, 12-step groups,” she said. “The Matrix Manuals have been used successfully for many years to treat persons with many different drug and alcohol dependencies.”
There have been scientific studies conducted on the Matrix Model of Outpatient Treatment that support the effectiveness of the treatment, Obert said.
“Matrix does training throughout the United States and internationally on the use of the Matrix Model of Outpatient Treatment,” Obert said.
Among its many accolades, the Matrix Model has been acknowledged by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as an effective and scientifically based approach. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has listed the model on its National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). This prestigious listing was based on the cumulative data from evaluations of the Matrix Model spanning the past 25 years.
McCann said its approach to treatment has always been “patient-centered” which means they involve patients in the treatment process.
“We developed the Matrix Model in collaboration with our patients,” McCann said. “We asked for their input in order to understand how they experienced addiction and recovery, and based upon this input we developed a relevant and effective treatment. We didn’t impose what we thought treatment should be, rather we shaped what we did based upon what they told us and how they responded.”
This philosophy resulted in a treatment that is “patient friendly” and is accepted very positively by patients and clinicians across the country and in more than 20 other countries where we have done training, McCann said.
“Another reason that has contributed to our success is that we have always delivered only outpatient treatment,” he said. “Most outpatient programs are transplants of inpatient approaches which are generally more insight-oriented and focus on the patient’s history to try to explain the current problems. This is an important part of recovery, but we have found it much more important and effective to stay focused on the present. The patient has to learn to navigate through current daily life and establish a solid foundation for long-term recovery. This usually means looking down at your feet instead of back over your shoulder.”
Matrix Institute is located at 1849 Sawtelle Blvd #100, Los Angeles. For more information, visit matrixinstitute.org or call 800.310.7700.