VIVA is a program concerned with secondary prevention, which was developed in the name of the BAG in our centre combining research and practical work. The program has been created for the needs of adolescents and young adults (15-25 years) and addresses itself to all people that are interested in it, and in particular to those that are in difficult situations.

The aim of VIVA is to strengthen the resources that adolescents and young adults possess so that they are able to attain their own goals gradually. The promotion of their ability of self-regulation is central to this concept.

VIVA works in gender-separated groups of 6-8 participants.
The program includes 9 sessions of 90 minutes each week, followed by a “fresh-up” session 3 months later.

Modules of the program:

-    concentration and relaxation training
-    regulating one’s mood
-    dealing with one’s negative and automatic thoughts
-    promotion of self regulation in risk situations

VIVA is based on cognitive-behavioural working methods. With the aid of examples of the lives of adolescents and young adults, we develop and practice strategies together with the youths that help to deal with day-to-day life. The participants are also asked to fill out a journal during this week. The program furthermore includes comics, films and a relaxation-CD.

VIVA is conducted by the intervention’s team of the ZRG since 2005 and is evaluated and further developed by the research team of the ZRG.

Advanced training:

Since autumn 2007 onwards we have offered  health professionals the possibility to familiarise themselves with VIVA through regional training offers and to integrate VIVA in institutions that work with youths.


realize-it is an intervention program for adolescents and young adults whose cannabis consumption surpasses occasional use and become a dependency (this is the case for about 4% - 5% of all consumers). The duration of the program is 10 weeks, and comprises 5 individual sessions of 50 minutes every 2 weeks and one group therapy session.

The Realize-it program is strongly structured and uses the concept of a diary. This instrument aims to support individual efforts to reduce cannabis consumption in an optimal manner. In the diary each individual notes his/her patterns of consumption as well as short- and long-term goals concerning reduction and cessation of consumption. The diary also draws attention to the problems that can emerge due to change in consumption habits. It points towards the withdrawal symptoms that may occur, the “craving” as well as the risk situations. The purpose of the auto-observation with the aid of the diary is to develop control strategies that help the participants to either reduce consumption to a low level or, if possible, quit completely.

Realize-it is part of a group of programs that work with “motivational interviewing”, cognitive-behavioural methods and individual advice.

Realize-it is currently in its assessment phase, with 7 centres participating in Switzerland and 7 in Germany. In total, about 290 persons have participated in the program until the beginning of 2007, and about 50% have completed it.

The results are very encouraging so far. The majority of participants, in particular young adults from 20 years onwards, have drastically reduced their cannabis consumption or even quit completely. The amount of days of consumption has been halved (from 20-10) and the frequency of consumption has been reduced from 3.5 to 1.5. Even the amount of consumption tended towards reduction for hash, and was significantly reduced for marijuana.  

At the beginning of the program, one third of the participants showed high values of depression and anxiety symptoms. These symptoms were also clearly reduced, that is, within the group presenting a double amount of strain (cannabis consumption as well as psychological problems) not only was psychological well-being improved, but also cannabis consumption diminished.

Weight reduction training

We start the program with instructions on physical fitness and nutrition. The program concerns people with a body mass index > 25.

The program was evaluated in 150 people.