Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

Women and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook




Among the various psychosocial interventions presently available to treat alcohol and drug abuse, it could be argued that partner-involved treatments are the most broadly efficacious. There is not only substantial empirical support for the use of couple-based treatments in terms of improvements in primary targeted outcomes, such as substance use and relationship adjustment, but also in other areas that are of clear public health significance, including intimate partner violence (IPV), children's adjustment, and cost-benefit ratio and cost-effectiveness. During the last few decades, programmatic research on the application of partner-involved therapies for substance abuse has been among the most active and fruitful.

Although marital and family therapies for substance abuse have been used with a wide variety of patient populations, the purpose of this chapter is to focus on the application of partner-involved interventions with women who abuse substances and are in intimate relationships. More specifically, we (1) provide a conceptual rationale as to why couple therapy for female patients with substance abuse problems may be particularly appealing, compared to more traditional individual-based approaches; (2) describe theoretical and practical considerations involved when implementing couple therapy with these patients; (3) examine available evidence for the efficacy of couple therapy with female patients who abuse alcohol and drug; and (4) discuss future directions with respect to partner-involved therapies with these patients.


Posted with the permission of the publisher. This permission does not include the right for the publisher of the new work to grant others permission to photocopy or otherwise reproduce this material except for versions made by non-profit organizations for use by the blind or handicapped persons.

Behavioral Couple Therapy: Partner-Involved Treatment for Substance-Abusing Women, by William Fals-Stewart, Wendy K.K. Lam, and Michelle L. Kelley, in Women and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook, edited by Kathleen T. Brady, Sudie E. Back, Shelly F. Greenfield. © 2009. Copyright Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press.

Original Publication Citation

Fals-Stewart, W., Lam, W. K. K., & Kelley, M. L. (2009). Behavioral couple therapy: Partner-involved treatment for substance-abusing women. In K. T. Brady, S. E. Back, & S. F. Greenfield (Eds.), Women and addiction: A comprehensive handbook (pp. 323-338). New York, NY, US: Guilford Press.


0000-0003-3643-0419 (Kelley)