Behavioral Couples Therapy for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going
Among the various types of couple and family therapies used to treat substance abuse, Behavioral Couples Therapy (BCT) has the strongest empirical support for its effectiveness. During the last 3 decades, multiple studies have consistently found participation in BCT by married or cohabiting substance-abusing patients results in significant reductions in substance use, decreased problems related to substance use (e.g., job loss, hospitalization), and improved relationship satisfaction. Recently, investigations exploring other outcomes have found that, compared to traditional individual-based treatments, participation in BCT results in significantly (a) higher reductions in partner violence, (b) greater improvements in psychosocial functioning of children who live with parents who receive the intervention, and (c) better cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness. In addition to providing an overview of the theoretical underpinnings of BCT, methods used with this intervention, and the literature supporting its use, this article also examines the future directions of BCT research for substance abuse.