The Seven Challenges® program is designed for adolescent substance using or substance dependent individuals, to motivate a decision and commitment to change. It helps teenagers look at themselves, understand what it takes to give up a drug using lifestyle—and prepare for and attain success when they commit to making changes.

All treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation designed to identify problems and concerns for the teen and family. Following the evaluation, a therapist will work with the teen and family to determine treatment goals.


To succeed in working with youth, The Seven Challenges® Program places a special emphasis on creating a climate of mutual respect within which individuals can talk openly and honestly about themselves. We engage young people in actively thinking about their alcohol or other drug use, and its effect upon their lives.


Working through The Seven Challenges® helps youth understand what needs they are meeting by using drugs, what harm they are causing, what risks they are taking, and what it entails to give up a drug using lifestyle. We raise consciousness, inspire hope and motivate internally driven, sincere decisions to change.


Our clinicians join with youth and their families as problem-solving partners. We help young people overcome co-occurring problems and learn to meet their needs in positive ways so they are in a position from which they can sincerely make a commitment to change. Once such decisions are made, we teach the tools and provide the support that ensures success.

Developmentally Appropriate

The Seven Challenges Program helps young people master developmental tasks—to define their own identity, to learn systematic logical thinking and to prepare for adult roles—as they think about and examine their lives, their drug use and the potential impact of their drug use upon their future.


The Seven Challenges® is based on the latest research and evaluation literature, in particular findings about:

  • The underlying and co-occurring psychological problems that typically accompany drug use and put youth at risk of such use
  • The stages of change in overcoming drug problems
  • Preparing individuals to change through motivational enhancement
  • Resiliency
  • Counseling outcomes
  • Relapse prevention

Culturally Sensitive

The Seven Challenges Program and materials were developed working with a culturally diverse group of young people. The program uses an empowerment model, putting personal problems in the context of broader social and environmental issues.


The Seven Challenges Program addresses the drug use behavior, the underlying causes including psychological and co-occurring problems, and lifestyle issues.

The Seven Challenges

  1. We decided to open up and talk honestly about ourselves and about alcohol and other drugs.
  2. We looked at what we liked about alcohol and other drugs, and why we were using them.
  3. We looked at our use of alcohol or other drugs to see if it has caused harm or could cause harm.
  4. We looked at our responsibility and the responsibility of others for our problems.
  5. We thought about where we seemed to be headed, where we wanted to go, and what we wanted to accomplish.
  6. We made thoughtful decisions about our lives and about our use of alcohol and other drugs.
  7. We followed through on our decisions about our lives and drug use. If we saw problems, we went back to earlier challenges and mastered them.

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