Behavioural Couples Therapy for Addictions

Behavioural Couples Therapy (BCT) is a psychosocial intervention for the treatment of alcohol and drug issues recommended by 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 (or friends) with spouses or partners working as active collaborators in providing support to the addicted party. The approach attempts to reduce substance misuse directly and through restructuring the dysfunctional couple interactions that frequently help sustain it.

NICE recommends BCT for couples which involve close (e.g. daily) contact between a non-substance misusing partner and a partner undergoing treatment of stimulant or opioid misuse (including those who continue to use illicit 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 suggests BCT can be effective with patients on opioid substitution therapy (OST); can be implemented with concordant as well as discordant couples and; can improve outcomes for children. 

In multiple studies with diverse populations, patients who engaged in BCT have consistently reported greater reductions in alcohol or substance use than have patients who received only individual counselling. Couples receiving BCT also have reported higher levels of relationship satisfaction and more improvements in other areas of relationship and family functioning, including intimate partner violence and children’s psychosocial adjustment.

Progress Psychology offers BCT (either entirely online or via a hybrid model involving a mix of online and face-to-face sessions) 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).

BCT also improves the relationship with techniques for increasing positive activities and improving communication. This approach also fits well with 12-step or other self-help groups or group substance abuse counselling.

Progress Psychology’s BCT approach is designed to be delivered remotely online and accessed by couples from the comfort of their own homes.

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

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 me at:

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