Pros and Cons of Couples Rehab

Why Couples Rehab

Historically few rehab facilities offered an option for couple-based treatment. The emphasis has been on treatment of the individual while seeing the dynamics of a relationship as a detriment to proper care. But It is important to realize that the separation of intimate partners can result in a barrier to treatment. A person may truly want to go to rehab, but won’t, for fear of “abandoning” their partner. It’s very hard for one partner to get help while the other partner is still using which is why at LVD we do treat couples.

A study done in Hartford, CT demonstrates that the intimate partners of drug users play important roles in determining treatment options, particularly for women, and the complex interpersonal dynamics developed between partnered drug users suggests the need for a new approach to treating couples.

Some drug addicted couples have been together for a long time, they’ve developed a mutual system of care and support for each other— as do non-using partners—but these support skills can also promote continued drug use. A study that was published in The Journal of Addictive Diseases showed that, “Love, loyalty, guilt, or fear of losing the relationship often made it difficult to seriously consider treatment options. For the majority of both men and women in this study, their relationships were their primary source of emotional support.” Yet drug users can fall into very bad patterns of behavior: ineffective communication, domestic violence, avoidance. As substance abuse worsens it becomes increasingly difficult for couples to work out their problems and more maladaptive coping skills develop. When seeking treatment as a couple these toxic patterns can be addressed and new coping systems can be implemented.

How Effective Is Couples Rehab Compared to Individual Therapy?

It’s important to note that seeking treatment as a couple need not be at the expense of getting care for the individual. While in treatment at LVD there will be individual counseling— where personal concerns and needs are addressed away from the relationship—but we will also recognize importance of your relationship.

As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a person’s motivation to change and recover from substance abuse is key to successful treatment and provides the basis for the work needed to achieve long-term recovery. This is also true for couples. The results depend on a desire for change.

When both partners are equally motivated, they can support each other and help each other stay in line with their program of recovery. A new context for the partnership can be established that supports the emotional, physical, and spiritual health of both partners.

What Happens During Treatment As A Couple? How Does Therapy and Group Work?

An individualized treatment plan is created for each party in addition to a couples treatment plan where goals are identified for the couple. Issues faced by the couple and the individual will be treated in a safe and nurturing environment that is consistent with recovery and healing. Couples therapy will not begin until after detox is completed and the couple is medically stabilized. Couples will be housed separately but may have groups and activities together such as relapse prevention, yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, and meditation.

When Is Couples Treatment Not Advised?

It is better to deal with substance abuse issues separately in the following cases:

  • When one person is less motivated and more likely to relapse of leave treatment early. In many cases the person left behind in treatment will also leave treatment and relapse.
  • When there is severe domestic violence on the part of one or both partners.
  • When one person has a physical or mental health condition requiring a higher level of care.

What Do Couples Need To Do After Treatment To Stay Sober?

As with any individual seeking treatment, each party would need to maintain a healthy individual aftercare program and a couple-based aftercare plan. This could include an intensive out-patient program, as well as, individual therapy; participation in a 12-step program such as AA/NA and RCA (Recovering Couples Anonymous). RCA is a 12 step group for couples recovering from all forms of substance abuse. Each person in the relationship must have 12 step meetings they attend without a significant other; getting a sponsor (couples should not have the same sponsor. There are also smart recovery meetings and buddhist recovery meetings in some cities; returning to work, and engaging in healthy outlets i.e., yoga, breathworks, meditation, sports, hobbies, etc. There are healthy couple activities as well, i.e., going to the movies, hiking, and bowling. in re-defining the relationship, couples can find new activities they were unable to do while in active addiction. Couples can motivate and support each other.

The Cons of Couples Therapy.

When both people don’t have the same level of motivation to get healthy or there is a discrepancy in the power dynamic of the couple (where one person does not want more vulnerable member of the couple to get well.) In some destructive, complex relationships, taking drugs out of the equation leaves a void in the relationship that might cause one person to leave treatment often taking their partner with them.

What Happens If a Couple Breaks Up While in Treatment?

Should a “break-up” occur while in treatment we would proceed with still treating the individual without the couple component and continue with an aftercare plan that supports the individual.

The chances of staying sober after returning to an environment where a partner is still using are small. Seeking help for an addiction together can strengthen the relationship, as well as, provide the necessary tools for going forward as a couple in recovery.

The important thing is that you get the help you need. Talk to your treatment team about what the best plan is for you.

Private Drug Rehab For Couples

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At Laguna View Detox, you can overcome drug and alcohol addiction by staying together with your partner. We have a friendly team of staff that help couples to give up on their addiction. We help them get rid of addiction by focusing on the root cause of their addiction and helping them fight it. Also, we support couples to mutually help their partners to overcome the drug addiction. Learn More