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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    • "Because alcohol use represents an important risk factor for IPV, interventions and policies aimed at problem drinking may also lead to reductions in IPV. For example, couplesbased treatment for substance use disorders produced clinically signifi cant reductions in violence for patients whose alcohol use remitted after treatment (Murphy & Ting, 2010; Ruff et al., 2010). These fi ndings suggest the potential for using alcohol-focused interventions to prevent IPV. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: This article summarizes existing research on the relationship between alcohol policies and intimate partner violence (IPV). Because alcohol use represents an important risk factor for IPV, interventions and policies aimed at decreasing problem drinking may also lead to reductions in IPV. Method: Electronic databases were searched to identify relevant peer-reviewed journal articles on alcohol policies and IPV, as well as reference sections of appropriate articles. Only policies that have been studied specifically for their impact on IPV were included. Results: Three alcohol policy areas (outlet density, hours and days of sale, and pricing/taxation) have been studied in relation to IPV outcomes. Research on outlet density has the most consistent findings, with most studies indicating that higher densities of alcohol outlets are associated with higher rates of IPV. Fewer studies have been conducted on pricing policies and policies restricting hours/days of sale, with most studies suggesting no impact on IPV rates. Conclusions: A higher density of alcohol outlets appears to be associated with greater rates of IPV. However, there is limited evidence suggesting that alcohol pricing policies and restrictions on hours and days of sale are associated with IPV outcomes. Knowledge about the impact of alcohol-related policies on IPV and violence in general is limited by several significant research gaps. Additional research is needed to assess the impact of alcohol policies on IPV and other forms of violence.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012
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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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    ABSTRACT: In this article the contents of the principal English-language family therapy journals, and key family therapy articles published in other journals in 2012 are reviewed under these headings: therapy processes in the treatment of child-focused problems, autism, adolescent substance use, human immunodeficiency virus, depression and grief, fragile families, mental health recovery, medical family therapy, family business and systemic practice, couple therapy, intimate partner violence, key issues in theory and practice, research, diversity, international perspectives, interviews, and deaths.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Family Therapy
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