Treatment & 9 Key Elements

We have adopted a 10 Key Elements of Effectiveness model in which each of the ten elements is satisfied by the use of evidence-based intervention or approach. DSYTC programming content was compiled with the aid of exhaustive research and expert consultation, and the chosen clinical approaches reflect up-to-date evidence-based practices, which are consistent with the goal of the DSYTC becoming a Centre of Excellence. 

10 Key Program Elements:*

  1. Assessment
  2. Attention to Mental Health
  3. Comprehensive Integrated Treatment
  4. Family Involvement in Treatment
  5. Developmentally Informed Programming
  6. Engage and Retain Adolescents in Treatment
  7. Staff Qualifications and Training
  8. Person-First (Culturally Competent) Treatment
  9. Continuing Care and Recovery Supports
  10. Program Evaluation


*Source: Drug Strategies Institute (updated in 2015)

Evidence-based clinical approaches utilized by the DSYTC include:

  • Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA)
  • Assertive Continuing Care (ACC)
  • Family Support Network – modified (FSN)
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Contingency Management (CM) – see more information below
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI) / Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Seeking Safety (Trauma)
  • Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS)

Clinical approaches NOT utilized by the DSYTC include:

  • Aggressive confrontation
  • Disease model elements which contradict core values  (e.g., powerlessness)
  • Mandatory 12-step support group/philosophy
  • Personal and excessive self-disclosure by clinical staff
  • Psychoanalysis
  • All approaches which are not substantiated via empirical study 

Contingency Management (CM)
CM is a research-supported point system that is utilized at the DSYTC live-in campuses. It is used to reward clients for the completion of a number of tasks and routines (e.g., chores) as well as for doing things that are particularly helpful or noteworthy (e.g., assisting another client or staff member, treatment progress, etc.). Although the provision of client rewards is the predominant focus of CM, clients can also lose points based on their lack of participation in certain tasks and/or for demonstrating negative attitudes or behaviours deemed within their control (e.g., swearing, intimidation). Accumulated points are then used to obtain desirable ‘rewards’ such as a special meal, additional free time, later bedtime, etc. The DSYTC also created a home-based version of CM for on-going use for youth and families once they depart the live-in portion of their treatment.