Unique approach providing outstanding outcomes

22 April 2020
Matrix program

One of the barriers to people seeking treatment for substance dependence is that many programs are residential, so clients can’t maintain work and family commitments. The Salvation Army’s Matrix program may be answering that problem in Tasmania.

Instead of requiring participants to live in, the year­long program offers intensive outpatient support, including cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, relapse prevention, contingency management and family education. Participants undertake 20 weeks of three group sessions a week, followed by 28 weeks of one weekly social support session.

A major benefit of the Matrix program is that it gives participants the opportunity to implement the skills and strategies they’re learning right away, as they navigate their day-­to-­day challenges.

Remarkable improvements have been seen in the first group of 60 participants:

  • Symptoms of depression decreased by 63%
  • Symptoms of anxiety decreased by 55%
  • Symptoms of psychological distress reduced by 69% Symptoms of PTSD reduced by 55%, with most clients no longer meeting criteria for a PTSD diagnosis
  • Emergency department presentations during the course of the program reduced from 47% to under 1%

While the data is still being reviewed, the majority of participants maintained abstinence throughout the program. Dr Emma Richardson, psychologist and Matrix Program Coordinator, says, “We’ve seen such wonderful improvements, particularly in the clients who have continued to engage regularly. It’s got a lot of promise, this program.”

Client feedback, too, has been overwhelmingly positive. One summed it up like this: “If I didn’t have the Matrix program in my life, I would hate to think where I’d be.”

If addiction is an area you would specifically like to support as a donor, please get in touch with Philanthropy Manager, Brendan Wilson on 0447 837 308 or email brendan.wilson@salvationarmy.org.au