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When one partner in a relationship is an addict, unhealthy role shifts and power imbalances can take place. When the abuser enters recovery, things begin to re-balance, and this power redistribution has potential for other problems. Couples treatment, also known as couples therapy, is intended to help both partners work together to adapt to the challenges posed during this transition back to a fully-functioning partnership.
Couples therapy also assists in navigating the challenges that face each partner once the addict enters rehab treatment, how best to assist the recovering partner and confronting how life will change for both people. The non-addict partner is encouraged to participate in support programs such as Al-Anon to help with this transition; an underlying goal is the addict’s recovery, and so couples treatment targets both people in the relationship.
Support is Key
The underlying principle of couples treatment is that rehabilitation has a greater success when support exists. The most common treatment philosophy used is Cognitive Behavior Therapy — and while men and women benefit from this type of therapy, studies show that women recovering from alcohol addiction have a greater success rate.
One always hopes that ending addiction means a relationship can return to normal — but in so many situations, the addiction has existed for so long that what is normal has become skewed. If issues are not addressed, the natural inclination is to fall back into destructive life patterns. In this case, couples therapy can help the couple reconnect to a way of life of which they’re no longer familiar.