BCT is designed for married or cohabitating partners in a drug addicted relationship. BCT treats the substance abusing couple, and builds a supportive environment for both addicts in the dysfunctional relationship. The purpose of BCT is to provide support for abstinence and improve the functioning of both partners in the marriage. The recovery contract keeps both partners honest with each other. BCT improves communication and positive activities. Behavioral Couples Therapy fits well with medication assisted treatment and 12 step recovery groups. Weekly couple sessions with a trained addiction therapist will continue for 6 months

The Recovery Contract

The main purpose of the recovery contract is to support abstinence from alcohol and drugs. It holds each partner accountable for his or her own actions. The goal is to decrease conflicts and increase communication for the addicted couple. Relapse prevention is one positive outcome of the BCT counseling. Many substance abuse counselors find it very challenging to engage both partners in a therapy session. Hopefully this gets easier as time goes on.


The protocols for behavior shaping, observation and acceptance are elements of the clinical therapy process in BCT. When used in combination, these protocols create effective and efficient change in drug addicted couples by rapidly decreasing the negative and corrosive behaviors often exhibited by couples in drug rehab facilities. These process therapies are useful within specific stages of addiction treatment.

Behavior observation is a highly motivated part of behavior shaping and can be used as a relapse prevention skill by couples in drug rehab. Communication skills training, and acceptance therapy sessions can be used as an intervention for violent chronic conflicts. these specific skills can also be used throughout couples addiction therapy to address conflicts and issues as they arise.  A behavioral modification approach to rehab for couples helps solve core issues within a codependent relationship. Communication and conflict resolution, are the top priority for counselors treating addicted couples in substance abuse counseling sessions.


Relationship Therapy Sessions

Promoting a family environment that is conducive to sobriety is the main goal. Regarding the codependent relationship, one major objective is to modify substance abuse-related patterns of interaction between partners, such as cravings for heroin or other opiates .
During the first counseling session, the primary therapist and couple develop a Recovery
Contract in which the partners agree to engage in a daily Abstinence Trust Discussion, which is a
brief discussion where each substance-abusing partner declares his or her intent not to
drink or use drugs that day. Both partners responds by expressing positive support and encouragement for the efforts to remain clean and sober.

Clients cleared for medication assisted treatment using suboxone, or buprenorphine should verbally reinforce the daily ingestion of medications. As part of this process, each partner also tracks the performance of the
Abstinence Trust Discussion and the medication taken by his significant other on a daily Recovery
Calendar, which is provided by the couples rehab therapist.
A critical component of the Recovery Contract is the agreement between partners to not
tell war stories about past drinking or drug use. Relapse fears should be communicated to each other in a positive manner. Addicted partners are trained to only discuss these issues during BCT therapy
sessions, which can be monitored by the therapist. The purpose of this recovery agreement is to reduce the
possibility of substance abuse-related conflicts occurring while attending AA or NA meetings ,between therapy sessions, . These discussions can trigger

12 Step Meetings For Couples

Many contracts also require partners’ regular attendance at self-help meetings (e.g.,
Alcoholics Anonymous, Nar-Anon. Specialized 12 step meetings for couples are help in multiple cities around the country. These meetings are helpful because issues that come up for addicts in a relationship are different than single addicts. Clients who are on medication assisted treatment including suboxone need separate 12 step meetings because you will be judged as not being clean at most NA meetings.