Substance Use Treatment for Adolescents

The Seven Challenges® Program is an evidence-based model designed to empower youth who struggle with a variety of stressors, and seek comfort or escape in alcohol or other drugs. Participants will develop the personal insight and confidence needed to effectively cope with issues that often accompany and exacerbate substance use such as: mental health problems, trauma, family conflict, school issues, and relationship issues, to highlight a few.

The Seven Challenges does not fit the youth into our program; rather, we wrap the program around the concerns of the youth we serve. The program helps young people look at what is happening in their lives, helping them recognize what is going well and what is problematic. Whatever is not going well, or as well as they would like it to be going, is identified as an “issue.” Providers teach young people to work on their issues, using the “challenge process” to help them make thoughtful decisions in their lives, including about alcohol and other drugs.

Participation in The Seven Challenges program will require the following components:

  • Initial comprehensive evaluations
  • Weekly individual therapy sessions
  • Weekly group therapy
  • Completion of regular journaling assignments

*Additional services or programs may also be recommended based upon individual client needs. Participants will have access to the wide range of services offered through Liberty Resources.*

For Participants

During your work in The Seven Challenges program, we will “meet you where you are at,” rather than where others want you to be or where you feel you may have to pretend to be. We understand that many teens and young adults are not ready, willing, or prepared to make changes in their lives.  We will partner with and empower you!

What can I expect as a participant in The Seven Challenges:

  • An environment that fosters mutual respect, in order to help you be open and honest about yourself and your experiences;
  • Encouragement to actively think about your use of alcohol and other drugs and the impact it may be having upon your life;
  • The opportunity to explore what personal needs you are meeting by using alcohol and other drugs;
  • The chance to discover the risks and costs associated with using drugs and alcohol;
  • The chance to learn what is needed to create positive change in your own life;
  • To be motivated to make informed, internally-driven, sincere decisions to create change in yourself and your life;
  • To be taught the tools and given the support necessary to ensure your success;
  • To learn a new course of action that would allow you to live a healthy, drug-free life; and
  • To be provided with a framework for making your own decisions about your life and use of drugs and alcohol.
For Caregivers

Most young people do not seek substance use treatment of their own free will.  The Seven Challenges program starts where youth “are at” (usually resistant and reluctant to change), not where adults wish they might be or where young people often pretend to be to the adults in their lives.  The Seven Challenges program can be described as an empowerment model, moving away from a model that puts excessive blame on the individual, with a clear message to youth: “You can do it!”

What should caregivers know about The Seven Challenges:

  • We empower youth to meet their needs in positive ways. This gives them the opportunity to consider making changes and living well without depending on alcohol and other drugs.
  • We do not attempt to convince a young person that they have a problem, which puts them into a defensive position.  Instead, we work to capitalize on the enormous power of education by thoughtfully approaching topics of change, and utilizing moments of respectful confrontation to create positive change. We take a slow but steady approach.
  • We will avert power struggles and insincere commitments to change by working toward honesty and engagement rather than charging ahead with unrealistic expectation of complete and immediate abstinence from substance use.  By doing this, we avoid the pitfalls of teaching participants to be substance free before they have honestly decided for themselves to be substance free.
  • People use alcohol and other drugs for a reason. We will help participants to identify what motivates their use and begin to address the underlying concerns that exist. Rather than presenting ourselves as an enemy who want to take alcohol and other drugs away from them, we reposition ourselves as problem-solving partners with participants.
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.
For more information on The Seven Challenges visit:

Ready to get Started?

Download the Seven Challenges Referral Form

Do You Have Questions About The Seven Challenges?

The Seven Challenges Program is currently available through the Integrated Behavioral Health Center in Syracuse. We welcome the opportunity for discussion about the program.  Contact Liberty Resources Behavioral Health office at: 315-472-4471 during business hours, or fill out the form below. We appreciate your interest!

7 Challenges Inquiry