Before It's Too Late: Working with Substance Use and Process Addictions in Couple Therapy

  • Saturday, October 20, 2018
  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Shipley Auditorium, Newton Wellesley Hospital, Newton, MA
  • 6


Registration is closed

 Before It’s Too Late:

Treating Substance Abuse and
Process Addiction in Couple Therapy

David C. Treadway, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 20th, 2018, 9:00am to 4:30pm

Shipley Auditorium, Newton Wellesley Hospital
2014 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02462

Click Here for Program Brochure

Couple dynamics play a crucial role in patterns of both substance abuse and “process addiction,” such as compulsive pornography use, shopping, eating and gambling.  Substance and process abuse also become an integral part of the vicious cycle of negative interactions that bring couples to therapy.  David C. Treadway, a nationally recognized expert in the field, will explain how to identify process addictions and problematic use of substances, and how to integrate treatment of these behaviors into the therapy when the relationship itself, not the addiction, is the presenting problem.  He will present a six-stage treatment model, including interventions that address the frequent occurrence of resistance, denial and relapse.  A video of a couple therapy session, along with a role-play, will illustrate the key components of the model.  The workshop will also emphasize the importance of attending to therapist counter-transference and employing effective self-care strategies.  Along with enhancing couple therapists’ confidence in treating these clinical challenges, the workshop will also provide guidelines on when to refer to a specialist.

David C. Treadway, Ph.D. is in private practice in Harvard and Newton, MA. He is well known for his dynamic workshops and trainings on treating substance abuse in the family and for the development of Collaborative Couple Therapy. He is the author of several books, including Before It’s Too Late: Working With Substance Abuse in the Family; Intimacy, Change and Other Therapeutic Mysteries: Stories of Clinicians and Clients; and the soon-to-be-released Treating Couples Well: A Practical Guide to Collaborative Couples Therapy. He has written over thirty articles, appeared on Good Morning America and 20/20, and hosted his own radio program on family communications.



This program is open to all PCFINE members, other interested mental health professionals and students. It is intended for those with an intermediate or advanced level of knowledge and experience.



Full refund if notice of cancellation is received by October 3, 2018.


At the conclusion of this program the participants will be able to:

1. Outline David Treadway’s six-stage model of treating substance-abusing couple systems.

2. Articulate several specific therapeutic techniques for working with resistance, denial, and relapse with couples.

3. Describe the hallmarks of process addictions as they might show up in work with couples.

4. Recognize and describe some of their own counter-transference reactions when working with this traditionally help-resistant clinical population, and describe how they might address them productively.

5. Describe guidelines for distinguishing when to incorporate a specific model of intervention into their own work with substance abusing couple systems and when to refer out to specialists, 12-step programs, and higher levels of clinical care.


Benton, S. (2009). Understanding the High Functioning Alcoholic: Breaking the Cycle and Finding Hope. Rowman &Littlefield.

Kaskutas, L.A. (2009). Alcoholics Anonymous Effectiveness: Faith Meets Science. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 28(2), 145-157.

Khantzian, E.J. (2003). Understanding Addictive Vulnerability: An Evolving Psychodynamic Perspective. Neuro-Psychoanalysis, 5(1), 5-21.

Schneider, J.P. (2004). Understanding and Diagnosing Sex Addiction. In R. H. Coombs (Ed.), Handbook of addictive disorders: A practical guide to diagnosis and treatment (pp. 197-232). Hoboken, NJ, US: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Treadway, D.C. (1988). Before It’s Too Late: Family Treatment of Substance Abuse. New York: Norton.


PCFINE is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. PCFINE maintains responsibility for the program and its contents. This program fulfills the requirement for 5.5 hours of CE credit. Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Counselors may call (781) 433-0906 or e-mail for CE information. This activity has been certified by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health & Human Services Professions, for LMFT professional continuing education (certification #PC-034231).

PCFINE is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination and will conduct all activities in strict conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. If you believe that a violation of ethics has occurred during this program, or if you have concerns about accessibility for people with disabilities, or any other complaints or questions, please contact Justin Newmark, Ph.D. 

There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE sponsor, presenter, workshop content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as a conflict of interest.


Directions to Newton Wellesley Hospital can be found at

Parking is available at the hospital. Woodland T station (D line) is about two blocks from the hospital.



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