Whilst many therapeutic models include functional or behavioural analysis of problematic behaviours, ACRA also analyses prosocial activities in order to discover what role these activities play in meeting the person’s needs.

Where the young person is having difficulty thinking of activities that may interest them, ideas may be found through the use of the Leisure Questionnaire or by keeping a list of possible activities, sports or programs in the local area and introducing them as possibilities.

The amount of detail provided by the functional analysis on the role of a prosocial activity enables the practitioner and the young person to see if or how it could be adapted to provide a constructive or functional alternative to substance use. This can positively reinforce a young person’s motivation to make changes to their substance using behaviour.

Key techniques include:

  • asking the young person to describe activities that he or she enjoys that do not involve  using  alcohol or other  drugs
  • exploring the conditions under which young people choose to engage in prosocial activities
  • exploring the positive  and negative consequences of engaging in them (Godley, Meyers, et al., 2001; p49).

Functional analysis is a work in progress, not a one-shot effort and should be revisited as the adolescent’s needs and behaviours change (Godley, Meyers, et al., 2001; p50).

Example of the Leisure Questionnaire