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Synergy is the adolescent continuum of services within Addiction Research and Treatment Services. Synergy has provided substance abuse treatment to adolescents since 1978. Synergy serves adolescents with substance use, conduct, and other co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Synergy is grounded in promising and evidence-based practices; all services emphasize developmentally appropriate, empirically supported treatments. Treatment is informed by a comprehensive assessment, which leads to formation of an individualized treatment and continuing care plan. The Synergy continuum of services includes Synergy Residential, a Residential Child Care Facility/Modified Therapeutic Community for adolescent males and Synergy Outpatient Services, which includes traditional outpatient services and evidence-based practices provided in the home and/or community.

Synergy Outpatient Services

Adolescent Services 1Synergy Outpatient Services offers a variety of outpatient-based services for male and adolescent females between 12 and 21 years of age.

Evaluation Services

Synergy offers evaluation services to all referral agencies and to individuals and families. This service consists of a comprehensive assessment that focuses on alcohol and drug problems, behavioral problems and mental health assessment. Referral sources including caseworkers, probation officers, and parents will receive a detailed report and/or personal feedback from this evaluation. If warranted, treatment recommendations are also an integral part of the report feedback. Some of the major areas that can be included in the evaluation are:

  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Conduct disorder and juvenile delinquency
  • Psychiatric or psychological problems
  • Aggression
  • Family problems

Multisystemic Therapy with Contingency Management

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a home-based model that is evidence-based and continuously monitored for fidelity of implementation. It is an integrated treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. Multisystemic means that Synergy strives to work with the adolescent and his or her family, school, community and peers to achieve positive behavioral change. The goal is to assist the adolescent to remain at home, to learn how to live a healthy, drug-free life, and to be successful in school and work. The key is to coordinate all facets of the adolescent’s life and align them in a focused direction. Paired with contingency management, the expected outcomes of MST are the elimination of substance use and behavioral problems, including criminal activity, truancy, academic deficits, and reduction in family conflict. MST can be the primary treatment intervention for adolescents and their families, or constitute aftercare for those who have completed intensive treatment.

Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach

Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA), an outpatient treatment approach, is a behaviorally based intervention that is effective in helping adolescents find alternative coping strategies and supports in their community to avoid drug use. ACRA helps promote abstinence, positive social activities, and positive family and peer relationships.

Assertive Continuing Care

Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) is an empirically supported community and home-based model and it is available for those youth who have completed a residential, day treatment, or a similarly intensive program. ACC utilizes the ACRA therapy model and relies heavily on home-based case management to assist the youth in achieving goals and developing positive activities. This involves linking the youth to services in the community (e.g., 12-step support group, work or pro-social activities, mental health counseling); monitoring his/her continued involvement with the service; advocating for the individual as needed (e.g., with probation or school/work); and providing support through difficult times (e.g., relapse or problems with caregivers). The therapist may also offer transportation to an individual to help him/her engage with a pro-social activity.

Alternatives for Families – A Cognitive Behavioral Approach

Alternatives for Families – A Cognitive Behavioral Approach (AF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment designed to improve the relationships between children and caregivers in families involved in arguments, frequent conflict, physical force/discipline, or child physical abuse. The goals are focused on enhancing child/family safety; to help families better adapt to and cope with difficult life circumstances; and to improve parent-child relationships.

Traditional Outpatient Services

Traditional Outpatient services are offered to both male and female adolescents, and can include individual or family therapy, psychiatric assessment, medication management, and urine monitoring.

Synergy Residential

Adolescent Services 2The Synergy Residential Child Care Facility (RCCF) is a 15-bed residential facility offering a nurturing, but non-permissive and highly structured program for adolescent males aged 14 to 18. The program is a Modified Therapeutic Community (MTC), an evidence-based intervention in which treatment is phased, with individuals receiving increasing levels of responsibility and associated privileges, based on their progress through respective phases. As individuals move to completion of the program, they are incrementally transitioned into the community, with most youth returning to live with their family. Synergy Residential offers drug and alcohol counseling services, an onsite school, life skills training, and pro-social recreational options with a focus on positive opportunities for youth experiencing substance use, conduct and psychiatric disorders, and other delinquent behaviors. The average length of treatment is 4-5 months.

Individuals receive evidenced-based, onsite structure programming that includes:

  • Individual Counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Family Therapy
  • Trauma Informed Care
  • Onsite education with an accredited school
  • Recreational Activities
  • Credit Recovery
  • GED preparation and testing

Recreational and Recovery Support Services

Synergy’s youth are encouraged to explore positive prosocial and recreational activities to participate in while on therapeutic home passes in their communities. This helps to prepare them for post-residential life and becomes a large part of their treatment goals. To augment this, Synergy works to secure funding for additional activities these youth would not normally be exposed to. Substance use has become a recreational outlet for Synergy youth and our program works to provide them adrenaline pumping activities such as snowboarding, camping, rock climbing, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking experiences to expose them to exciting, physical activities in a safe, staff supervised, and sober state. For some of our youth, these outings may be their first exposure to activities outside of an urban, city environment. These types of physical and experiential events offer Synergy’s youth the opportunity to challenge themselves to take positive risks without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol outside of an environment they are accustomed to. Exposure to a vast array of outdoor activities opens the door for Synergy’s youth to a world of positive, exciting activities that can become a life-long passion and hobby for their future.

Licensure and Credentials

Synergy is licensed by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health and Synergy Residential is also licensed by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Care.

Synergy programs are staffed by multi-disciplinary teams of professionals, including psychiatrists, licensed mental health therapists, certified addictions counselors, and case managers. Faculty members from the Division of Substance Dependence, Department of Psychiatry, work in the Synergy programs, providing psychiatric consultation and direct clinical care, while also conducting clinical research. This integration of research and practice is the foundation for all of Synergy’s services, ensuring that the individuals are participating in interventions that are grounded in current scientific evidence.


Synergy serves youth from the Denver metro area, as well as outlying communities in Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho. Referrals are accepted from social services, probation and judicial districts, Division of Youth Corrections, Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities (TASC), family, and self-referral.

If interested in learning more about Synergy programs or to schedule an intake appointment, please call 303-781-7875.

Contact ARTS

3738 W. Princeton Circle
Denver, CO 80236

Weekdays 7:30am to 4:30pm
Phone: 303.336.1600
Fax: 303.762.2181

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