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Treatment of Addictive Behaviors: Relapse Prevention 

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Alan Marlatt, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington.

Alan Marlatt, Ph.D. has authored more than one hundred journal articles, highly-acclaimed books, workbooks for patients, and treatment manuals for frontline clinicians. His book, Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors, has been called “essential reading material for anyone whose life is affected by substance use…” [Contemporary Psychology]. His treatment strategies are based on a wealth of empirical evidence and, importantly, “are placed firmly within the framework of the real world” [Abrams and Lewis, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Brown University].

Abstinence models, e.g., Twelve Steps programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have dominated intervention approaches to substance abuse and other addictive behaviors in the United States. These programs have helped countless individuals. Unfortunately, many others drop out of these programs. Some individuals feel they don’t fit into 12 steps programs due to the programs’ emphasis on a higher power. Others are simply unwilling or unable to commit to abstinence. Drawing upon extensive research, Marlatt shows that there is an effective alternative to abstinence models.

Specific topics include an overview of contemporary approaches to substance abuse treatment, Marlatt’s Top 10 Reasons Why Alcoholism is NOT a disease, relapse rates for alcohol, smoking, and heroin, Marlatt’s early work with aversion therapy (e.g., electric shock), results of contemporary research concerning the determinants of relapse, the Cognitive Behavioral Model of the Relapse Process, an overview of the arsenal of specific cognitive behavioral (i.e., RP) interventions and how to tailor such interventions to the individual’s specific risk situations and triggers, what to do when a lapse occurs, and results of empirical studies that have implemented RP strategies.


Learning Objectives:

1) Viewers will be able to describe an intervention strategy that is effective with clients who abuse substances and are unwilling to commit to abstinence.

2) Viewers will be able to cite common triggers for relapse.

3) Viewers will be able to summarize findings from empirical studies of RP.

This program is appropriate for any mental health clinician who works with clients who abuse substances or engage in other addictive behaviors.

CE credit: 3 hours

Dr. Marlatt does not receive funding from any corporate or private entities.

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