Category: Treatment - Other

Mini Workshop

Mini Workshop 15 - Behavioral Couples Therapy for Substance Use Disorders

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Aqua 300 A & B, Level 3, Aqua Level

Keywords: Couples / Close Relationships | Couple Therapy | Substance Abuse
Presentation Type: Mini Workshop
Level of Familiarity: Advanced

Regardless of the definition used to operationalize intimate partner violence (IPV), surveys reveal that physical aggression between partners is alarmingly high; the results of most studies suggest that 15%-20% of couples report episodes of partner aggression in the previous year. As high as these estimates may seem, they are dwarfed in comparison to those observed among married or cohabiting substance-abusing patients entering treatment. Previous studies have found roughly 50%-60% of substance-abusing men with intimate partners report one or more episodes of IPV during the year prior to program entry. With the increasing emphasis on partner- and family-involved assessments and interventions for substance abuse, treatment providers are increasingly confronted with and called upon to address IPV.
Unfortunately, effective options for treatment providers who confront IPV issues are limited. The most common approaches used by providers are to (a) ignore this issue and provide standard treatment for substance abuse, or (b) refer these cases to agencies specializing in batterers treatment. There are three fundamental problems with this strategy. Although the latter approach appears viable and responsive, available evidence indicates otherwise. First, many batterers treatment programs will only accept referrals from individuals who are specifically mandated by the criminal justice system to participate in IPV treatment. Most patients in substance abuse treatment settings are not mandated to participate in batterers programs; in fact, most substance-abusing patients are not identified as having engaged in IPV. Second, even in circumstances in which batterers programs will accept referrals of substance-abusing patients who are not mandated, the vast majority of the substance-abusing patients who are referred either do not attend or drop out prematurely. Third, available evidence suggests batterers intervention programs are largely ineffective in reducing partner aggression. Consequently, substance abuse treatment programs need methods they can use with their patients that can be integrated into their intervention packages that can address IPV.

Learning Objectives:


Recommended Reading: Klostermann, K., & O'Farrell, T. J. (2013). Behavioral couples therapy for substance abuse disorders. Social Work in Public Health, 28, 234-247.
Klostermann, K., Kelley, M. L., Mignone, T., Pusateri, L. & Wills, K. (2011). Behavioral couples therapy for substance abuse: Where do we go from here? Substance Use & Misuse, 46, 1502-1509.
Klostermann, K., & Fals-Stewart, W. (2008). Behavioral couples therapy for substance abuse. Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim, 1(4), 81-93.

Stephanie Renno

Cohen Veterans Network

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