Founding Director (as of January 2014)
Walter Ling, M.D.
Associate Directors
Co-Directors (as of January 2014)

Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D., and Christine E. Grella, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor
M. Douglas Anglin, Ph.D.
(former Associate Director, 1999-2010)
UCLA ISAP Biennial Report - July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2014 2012 Biennial Report Home Page

Matrix Institute on Addictions Treatment Programs

Many of UCLA ISAP’s research studies take place in the community-based treatment programs of the Matrix Institute on Addictions. The Matrix Institute was established in 1984 to promote a greater understanding of addiction disorders and to improve the quality and availability of addiction treatment services through treatment, training, and research. Matrix is a nonprofit organization that delivers outpatient drug and alcohol treatment services in four clinics in two Southern California counties. One of the sites is an opioid treatment program (OTP).  In the past year (2013), more than 1,000 patients received treatment from the Matrix Institute in the four Matrix clinics. Over the past 30 years, more than 50 research projects and grants have been conducted at Matrix Institute sites, either by Matrix alone or in collaboration with investigators from UCLA and Friends Research Institute.

The Matrix training department has grown significantly over the past several years to include six trainers who have traveled nationally and internationally to train people in the Matrix Model of Intensive Outpatient Treatment. From 2005–2013, more than 6,000 individuals received Matrix Model training delivered in 50 states and 21 countries. A model of dissemination has been developed that has resulted in an international network of over 400 Matrix Model Key Supervisors who are experts in their respective facilities in the structuring and delivery of the Matrix treatment program. A Matrix Model Certification program was developed in 2009 to meet the demands of those supervisors and their organizations for a way to discern which of the programs delivering the Matrix Model are doing so with fidelity to the protocols.

The Matrix Model of Treatment for Substance Abuse Disorders

The Matrix Model of intensive outpatient treatment was developed with an awareness of the diversity of problems that contribute to ­addictive disorders. To produce the best ­opportunity for success, the needs of the individual patient are considered in the design of each treatment plan. Matrix treatment manuals have been published by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) and Hazelden Publishing for the treatment of adults, adolescents, Native Americans, and criminal justice populations. These manuals have been developed and evaluated with funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.

At the Matrix Institute, the ­elements chosen to create optimal treatment plans include strategies and methods that have been demonstrated to be effective with substance abuse disorders. The intensity, duration, and content of treatment vary for individual patients, but certain key elements that are significantly related to treatment success are included within all Matrix treatment plans. They are:

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing is a style of therapy that is designed to respect clients while helping them move toward making health-related changes. Matrix therapists have used this style of counseling for over 20 years. This non-confrontational, flexible, and accepting style is a hallmark of the Matrix Model of treatment and the use of it creates a nurturing relationship in which the client can thrive and successfully heal.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – including Relapse Prevention (RP)

Cognitive behavioral techniques that emphasize the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do are utilized throughout the treatment process at Matrix. Clients are taught to identify events that precede alcohol and/or drug use and change their thoughts and behaviors in response to these events. They are also taught skills to assist them in stopping alcohol and drug use, preventing relapse, and living an alcohol- and drug-free life.

12-Step Facilitation

Numerous outcome reports have demonstrated that patients who are involved in a 12-step or other support group have far better outcomes than patients who are not involved in such programs. Every Matrix clinical office hosts an onsite 12-step meeting for the clients at that location.

Contingency Management (CM)

Reinforcing positive behaviors during treatment has been shown to be highly effective in achieving a variety of substance abuse treatment goals. The Matrix Model incorporates incentives into its program by rewarding alcohol- and drug-free test results, attendance at treatment sessions, the use of skills learned during group, and the accomplishment of goals set during treatment.

Family Involvement

Families are involved regularly in the treatment process at Matrix because the more they understand the process of addiction and recovery, the more helpful they can be in the recovery process. There is substantial research that clearly indicates superior treatment outcomes for patients whose families are involved in the treatment process.


The Matrix program was founded on the principle that scientific findings can be successfully presented to clients and their families. The Matrix Education Groups contain a unique set of lectures that explain to participants what happens when addiction occurs and how they can deal with the brain chemistry changes that are caused by the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Continuing Care

Clients are encouraged to attend continuing care groups.  Those individuals that stay connected by attending the continuing care groups have a better chance of achieving long-term recovery.

The Matrix approach allows for maximal utilization of effective outpatient treatment methods. Due to the extensive involvement of the Matrix staff with clinical ­research efforts, patients treated at Matrix Institute have access to the newest and most effective pharmacotherapies and psychologically based treatment models. The substance abuse treatment system established by Matrix offers a set of options and a level of expertise unmatched in behavioral healthcare.

For more information, visit or call 800-310-7700.

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