Good Life Therapy
Workshop 12: The Sober Truth: Doing Effective Couples Therapy with Addicted Partners
Historically, when it comes to relationship recovery we have left alcoholic/addicts and their partners to fend for themselves. The belief was that active addiction or early sobriety was contraindicated for couples therapy as the stress of relational demands would push him/her to relapse. Exploring underlying issues of trauma that fuel addiction and are being played out in the primary relationship, was also out of bounds.
Addiction is rampant in our society. Many of us have been both bombarded professionally with this reality and touched personally in some form. Addicts are like tornadoes ravaging their way through the lives of others, and people in need of immediate care are left bleeding on the sidelines. And yet, the truth is that too many therapists are left unprepared for what to do when they discover that one or both partners are struggling with an addiction. Or, they believe that they cannot do effective couples work, while simultaneously addressing the addiction.
We will explore how the therapist can be fluid and flexible and juggle the present demands of recovery, while providing healing to past interpersonal wounds. By focusing through a developmental lens, we will discuss strategic interventions that move the individuals and couple from symbiosis to differentiation and beyond.
- Outline the benefits of approaching addiction and couples therapy from a developmental model that allows for integration of the two.
- Discuss 3 effective confrontation strategies to assess, address and integrate recovery into the structure of the couples work.
- Identify 6 essential tools needed, both personally and professionally, to work more flexibly and fluidly with this population through the entire addiction spectrum.