Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA)

A-CRA is a behavioral intervention that seeks to replace environmental factors that have supported alcohol or drug use with pro-social activities and behaviors that support recovery. This evidence based outpatient program targets youth 12 to 22 years old with DSM-IV cannabis, alcohol, and/or other substance use disorders. The A-CRA model includes guidelines for three types of sessions:

Adolescents alone 
Parents/caregivers alone
And adolescents and parents/caregivers together 

According to the adolescent’s needs and self-assessment of happiness in multiple areas of functioning, therapists choose from among 17 A-CRA procedures that address issues such as:

Problem-solving skills needed to cope with day-to-day stressors,
Communication skills,
And active participation in healthy social activities

All with the goal of improving life satisfaction and eliminating alcohol and substance use problems.

Role-playing/behavioral rehearsal is a critical component of the skills training used in A-CRA – particularly for learning of better communication and relapse prevention skills. Homework between sessions consists of practicing skills learned during sessions and participating in prosocial leisure activities not usually a part of the youth’s daily living.