How iTHRIVE Works for Families


What We Offer Is Simple Yet Tremendously Complex –

Early Intervention for

Substance and Alcohol Abuse


The Emotional Issues That Lead to Such Behavior

In Teens Aged 12-17 Years Of Age

iTHRIVE is a bi-lingual early intervention program for teens struggling with drugs/alcohol abuse and it is for the parents of these teens as well.  Teens with low-level substance abuse often struggle emotionally and behaviorally, and parents experience stress and hopelessness, not knowing where to turn. This is where iTHRIVE comes in. In iTHRIVE, teens explore the real steps needed to change their behavior while parents receive support from the iTHRIVE team. We help teens and parents address their struggles with real and practical information and tools so that they can thrive.

Our families move from simply surviving to thriving. In iTHRIVE, teens and parents experience personal growth and healing with the support of highly qualified therapists and counselors. iTHRIVE uses a combination of motivational interviewing, structural family therapy, psychoeducation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and experiential learning in a therapeutic group setting. Teens and Parents:

  • Participate in treatment intervention through individual sessions and group meetings
  • Learn problem solving, anger management, and communication skills
  • Learn how to cope with cravings and urges to use
  • Plan for high-risk situations, including how to refuse drugs and alcohol
  • Help increase teen’s social support network and non-drug activities

Besides all these elements, teens also become involved in many experiences which they otherwise would have little opportunity to try.  For the six-week duration of the program they get to learn a new skill (e.g. video-blogging, meditating, self-defense, making short films) which serves to help them feel all the ways they can have a great time without the use of drugs/alcohol.  These activities also keep the teens excited about coming in every week.

iTHRIVE’s Goal

iTHRIVE’s goal is to motivate each teen to stop his/her substance abuse, address their anger issues or other criminal behavior by enticing them to do something better instead. There are emotional and behavioral reasons why teens resort to troublesome behaviors, and both of these need to be addressed.  We soften the darker emotions within each teen, and improve the behavioral repertoire of actives they can resort to when they want to deal/escape/sooth.  It is our experience that teens who feel motivated about life, loved and secure, and sufficiently fulfilled in their entertainment rarely (if ever) need drugs/alcohol.

As part of this, iTHRIVE improves the family context in which teen empowerment takes place because each teen’s outcome is improved when the family is involved in the treatment process. Although no short-term treatment can resolve all problems and heal families completely, iTHRIVE improves a teen’s ability to stop abusing drugs and alcohol by:

  • Including the family in the recovery process
  • Enhancing family functioning through communication and relationship building
  • Improving each parent’s effectiveness in dealing with substance abuse and the behaviors accompanying drug use
  • Assessing the family’s commitment to the recovery process and suggesting changes in the way the family approaches problems

Who We Work With

iTHRIVE is dedicated to working with 12 to 17 year-old teens in and around Boulder, St. Vrain, Larimer, Weld, Denver, Adams and Broomfield school districts (though we’ll take teens from anywhere) who have just begun to veer onto an unhealthy track with drugs, alcohol or criminality. iTHRIVE clients benefit from personalized support but are not currently in need of residential treatment. iTHRIVE also works integrally with the parents or guardians of participating teens.  We are also a fully bi-lingual program serving English and Spanish speakers alike.

All teens and families who are in need of iTHRIVE’s services are invited to join one of our groups. Groups are offered over 6 meetings in the evenings. Program fees are on a sliding scale based on the family’s income.

iTHRIVE is a program of Alternatives for Youth, a non-profit with over 30 years of experience working with at-risk youth. To join a group, ask questions or get more information, please use our online contact form or call us at 303-776-8184.