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STEP Program Treatment Services

STEP integrates distinct, research-proven approaches to treatment. These are the active ingredients of our treatment: 
1. Motivational interviewing is an empathic, non-confrontational approach that motivates teens to make positive change. With motivational interviewing, our therapists align themselves with the positive goals and values of each adolescent. As treatment progresses, therapists help adolescents and their family members discern the discrepancy between current behaviors such as substance use.

2. Individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most research-based psychotherapy in child/adolescent mental health. CBT helps people change the way they think and act to help them change the way they feel. We treat our clients individually as it allows us to tailor the therapy to meet the needs of each adolescent and his/her family; research shows that group treatment can do harm if adolescents learn negative behaviors from each other.

3. We practice contingency management, which means STEP rewards clean urine drug screens with prizes from our prize cabinet. This is one of the most effective ways to help teens achieve initial abstinence.

4. Case management means that STEP therapists work hard to get adolescents involved in positive activities that promote long-term sobriety. Case management includes coordinating care with other agencies and providers.

5. Family therapy involves meeting with parents to help their children maintain their sobriety. A positive relationship with one's parents is how teens learn to internalize the healthy values of their parents.

6. Integrated care for psychiatric and substance abuse problems is provided to all adolescents from the outset. Most adolescents presenting for substance treatment have co-occurring psychiatric problems. Research shows that substance treatment is most successful when treatment is providing, not just for the substance abuse, but also the co-occurring psychiatric problems. For this reason, initial assessment are done with a therapist and a psychiatrist, who can provide medication management as necessary. The ongoing CBT treatment is also designed to address co-occurring psychiatric problems.

7. Continuing care means that we ensure ongoing activities that maintain progress made while in treatment. People once thought that addiction was cured with treatment. We now know that for most people it is a life-long process that needs ongoing attention. For these reasons, we help teens and their families plan for ongoing success.

STEP Offices

For general information about the STEP program, please contact Julia Timmerman at 303-602-1897 or


To schedule an appointment, contact Melody Smith at 303-602-1893 or

STEP values medical research because we strive to help not only our patients, but also future patients around the world.