Statistics show that 1 in 10 people who enter a therapy office or clinic have an addictive disorder, yet only about 10% receive treatment.

While addiction is often referred to as a “family disease,” current approaches in recovery do not provide treatments that address or account for the relationship between the person with an addiction and their partner. It’s time to change how we treat couples in recovery.

To help move our clients from addiction to recovery, we need to know how to assess and treat addictive disorders, and to feel comfortable using tools and strategies to help couples address addiction and support recovery. Outcome research informs us that couples counseling is more effective than individual therapy in identifying addiction and in moving the person with the addiction and family into recovery.


Training Description

Couples and Addiction Recovery is a groundbreaking new training for therapists, counselors, and professionals who work with couples struggling with addiction as well as couples in recovery from alcohol, drugs, and/or behavioral addictions. This workshop draws from the fields of addiction treatment, mental health, and couples counseling, and integrates current research findings with knowledge from clinical practice.

It integrates more than a decade of research by Dr. Robert Navarra with the Sound Relationship House model, developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. Dr. Navarra has worked in addiction recovery for over 25 years. He holds an Advanced Drug and Alcohol Certification and a national certification as a Master Addiction Counselor through the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC).

This training provides interventions and tools for a relational approach to healing that addresses three different but overlapping recoveries to include: the person with the addictive disorder, the partner, and their relationship.

What will I learn?

You will learn a research-based approach to help couples:

  • Identify addiction
  • Break through denial
  • Navigate the challenging road from active addiction to recovery
  • Improve conflict management skills
  • Learn the difference between “codependency” and “interdependency” and how to identify and set appropriate boundaries
  • Develop a relationship recovery, while supporting their partner’s recovery and strengthening their own individual recovery
  • Heal from the aftermath of addiction
  • Move toward wellness as individuals and as a couple

The tools and interventions taught in this workshop are adapted from Gottman Method Couples Therapy to help develop a Couple Recovery plan through increasing communication and understanding, establishing appropriate boundaries, and healing from the impact of addiction and recovery. Participants will be provided with tools to use immediately in their offices or clinics to work more effectively with individual couples and/or with small groups of couples.

Who is this training for?

This workshop is for mental health therapists, counselors, social workers, clergy, military family life chaplains, life coaches, recovery coaches, professors, students and professionals who work with couples affected by alcohol, drugs and/or behavioral addictions.

No prior experience or training in the Gottman Method is required; however, therapists who work with couples will greatly benefit from having at least completed Level 1 Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

What is included in the price?

Each participant will receive materials designed to help therapists and counselors effectively facilitate assessments, interventions, and exercises with their couples that can be used immediately following the workshop. All addiction assessments and exercises may be photocopied as handouts for couples.

  • 170-page Couples and Addiction Recovery Training Manual
  • Couples and Addiction Recovery Training Certificate of Completion
  • 4 Card Decks
    • My Recovery
    • Your Recovery
    • Our Recovery
    • Developing Rituals of Connection
  • Up to 6 CE Hours available

Training Objectives

At the completion of this training, you will be able to:

  • Summarize three assessment techniques for identifying addiction
  • Apply therapeutic techniques to help break denial of addiction
  • Describe and apply two techniques for helping couples in addiction recovery manage conflict
  • Practice techniques designed to help couples develop or strengthen a relational approach in addiction recovery
  • Describe the three components of the Couple Recovery Development Approach
  • Analyze demonstrations of Gottman Method Couples Therapy techniques adapted to assist couples in addiction recovery

Training Reviews

Thousands of clinicians worldwide have completed Couples and Addiction Recovery. Here’s what some of them have said about the workshop.

“Couples affected by addiction are hungry for a framework to help heal their relationship. I highly recommend this important training for addiction treatment centers running family programs. It provides new research, insights, clinical structure and effective materials that can be used by therapists and staff to help couples build new relationship bridges.”

– Courtney Strong, Clinical Director, Edgewood Health Network

“Since I am already trained in the Gottman method, it was really helpful to learn new, yet similar, interventions that can be applied specifically to couples working through addiction and recovery.”

– Anonymous evaluation from Berkeley, CA

“We needed this – I see so much substance abuse and addiction in the couples I work with. It’s nice to have a strategy.”

– Anonymous evaluation from Seattle, WA

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Specific interventions will be taught at the workshop, many based on modified or adapted approaches from the Gottman Method.

    While previous Gottman training is not required to attend this workshop, counselors, therapists. and recovery professionals who have completed Level 1 Training will find previous training helpful and relevant to both the theory and interventions covered in this training.

  • This training offers service providers of all types, the concepts and skills needed to help couples understand and talk about recovery so that recovery does not replace addiction as the “new elephant in the room.”

    Participants interested in receiving the introductory training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy may purchase an online course or attend a live two-day workshop.

  • There is no empirical evidence that working with couples in early recovery is contraindicated. In fact, there is growing evidence that early intervention with couples is associated with better treatment outcomes. Couple recovery does not replace individual recovery; rather, this approach supports individual recovery and provides tools for couples to integrate both individual and relationship recovery concurrently.

  • We cover approaches relevant to behavioral (process) addictions as well as addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

  • We also offer a two-day workshop for couples called “A Roadmap for the Journey.” For more information, visit here.