Behavioural Couples Therapy for Addictions

Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) is a psychosocial intervention for the treatment of alcohol and drug issues recommended by the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for couples; where one person has an addiction or dependancy and the other does not. It is therefore suited to married or cohabiting couples with spouses or partners (or friends) working as active collaborators in providing support to the addicted party, providing much-needed psycho-social support. The approach attempts to reduce substance misuse directly and through restructuring any dysfunctional couple interactions that typically help sustain it.

NICE recommends BCT for couples who have daily contact between the non-substance misusing partner and the partner undergoing treatment (including those who continue to use drugs while receiving opioid maintenance treatment or after completing opioid detoxification). The intervention focuses on the partner with drug misuse behaviours and consists of at least 12 weekly sessions, before relapse prevention strategies can be considered. 

Evidence supports the use of BCT in a wide range of addictions contexts and suggests it can also improve outcomes for children’s psychosocial adjustment in the family context.

Indeed, multiple studies with diverse populations show that patients who engaged in BCT consistently reported greater reductions in alcohol or substance use than have individuals who received only personal counselling. BCT also increases positive activities and improves communication. Couples receiving BCT also report higher levels of relationship satisfaction and more improvements in other areas of relationship and family functioning, including reduced aggression and partner violence.

BCT is suited to being a standalone therapy or can be used in conjunction with group substance abuse counselling or self-help groups. Progress Psychology recommends this approach as an alternative to group or residential therapy programmes for alcohol dependance, drug abuse, substance misuse and behavioural addictions (including gambling, sex, gaming, porn, internet use, etc).

Progress Psychology’s BCT approach is designed to be delivered either entirely remotely, online or via a hybrid model involving a mix of online and face-to-face sessions. One advantage is that therapy can therefore be accessed by both parties either together, from the comfort of their own homes, or from different locations, enabling both individuals to carry on with their careers and personal lives, without too much unnecessary disruption.

For more details or to arrange a complimentary initial consultation please contact us at:

Progress Psychology: A pioneering online treatment approach that goes beyond recovery

Although Progress Psychology works primarily within the BCT framework, our approach is informed by current developments in  psychology and psychiatry and prioritises the personal growth of the partner within the relationship who is experiencing addiction issues. There is an equally strong focus on helping the client develop the psychological resilience and behavioural skills they need to move towards their wider life, relationship, family and career goals. This methodology is inherently flexible and can therefore be adapted to each client’s individual needs. It can be delivered remotely online and accessed by clients from the comfort of their own homes. Hybrid delivery is also an option for individuals who may prefer occasional face-to-face sessions. The approach will be tailored to each individual’s needs, to include specific evidence-based approaches such as those below as needed.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT: to help clients develop the psychological flexibility to cope with challenges without using substances and to consistently behave in behaviours linked to their values and personal goals, even when facing difficult or disruptive inner experiences)

Motivational Interviewing (MI: to help build motivation to engage in treatment and commit to stay the course, throughout any setbacks that may arise)

Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP: to help develop skills in focusing the mind, “surfing’ unhelpful urges and responding more pro-actively to unwanted triggers)

Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT: to help promote mental and emotional healing by encouraging people in treatment to be compassionate toward themselves and other people)

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT: to help making sense of interpersonal issues, exploring traumatic experiences and developing the ability to form and maintain relationships)

Family Systems Therapy (to help build the strength and stability of the family unit to provide balance and support to each other, when experiencing problems)

Positive Psychology coaching (to help bring balance in life and help individuals understand how negative experiences can serve a purpose in helping them to flourish, with an emphasis on setting, and moving towards stronger life and career goals).

For more details or to arrange a complimentary initial consultation please contact us at:

Progress Psychology uses only tried and tested processes of therapy, coaching and behaviour change, focusing on building mental resilience through Psychological Flexibility (or Emotional Agility), using an evidence-based approach that enhances both wellbeing and performance. Please get in touch using the email address above, to find out more about Progress Psychology Counselling, Coaching and Consulting services.