Behavioral Couples Therapy for the Treatment of Substance Abuse: A Substantive and Methodological Review of O'Farrell, Fals-Stewart, and Colleagues' Program of Research

Child Development & Family Studies, Purdue University, Fowler Memorial House, 1200 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
Family Process (Impact Factor: 1.73). 12/2010; 49(4):439-56. DOI: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2010.01333.x
Source: PubMed


Behavioral couples therapy (BCT) is an evidence-based couple therapy intervention for married or cohabitating substance abusers and their partners. This paper provides readers with a substantive and methodological review of Fals-Stewart, O'Farrell, and colleagues' program of research on BCT. The 23 studies included in this review provide support for the efficacy of BCT for improving substance use behavior, dyadic adjustment, child psychosocial outcomes, and reducing partner violence. This review includes a description of BCT, summaries of primary and secondary outcomes, highlights methodological strengths and weaknesses, notes barriers to dissemination, suggests future research directions, and provides clinical implications for couple and family therapists. Although there are several versions of BCT developed for the treatment of substance abuse this paper focuses on the version developed by O'Farrell, Fals-Stewart, and colleagues.

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    • "The authors made the general finding that couple-based treatment for substance abuse was consistently more efficacious that individual treatment (Ruff et al. 2010). The authors concluded that the literature demonstrated BCT was linked to positive outcomes for children and reduced intimate partner violence (IPV) (Ruff et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: This literature review examines the effectiveness of family and relationship therapy and psychotherapy in relation to the following seven of the key modalities. Experiential Family Therapy (EFT) Structural Family Therapy (SFT) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) Family Problem Solving Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) Narrative Therapy It is acknowledged that these modalities represent only a sample of the many forms of family therapy practiced in Australia and elsewhere. They do represent however some of the key approaches. This review poses the central research question: ‘To what extent, if any, is family and relationship therapy and psychotherapy effective?’ The review systematically poses this question when examining each of the seven key modalities. The review assumes that the common aim of each of these modalities as they relate to the field of family and relationship therapy is to identify and treat problematic family and intra-personal relationship dynamics, as defined by the client(s). The review also identifies any knowledge gaps pertinent to the research area.
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    • "In a review of twenty-three studies of Fals-Stewart and O'Farrell's BCT for alcohol and substance use, Ruff et al. (2010) concluded that there is strong evidence that BCT reduces substance use and partner violence and improves relationship distress and children's adjustment in families where adults have alcohol and substance use problems. BCT focuses on reducing drug and alcohol use, enhancing family support for efforts to change and promoting patterns of interaction conducive to long-term abstinence. "
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