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Addiction and the Couple: Dynamics and Therapeutic Approaches

July 13, 2022 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EDT


About this event

2 CE Hours available for NY Practitioners – LCSWs, LMSWs, LPs, LMFTs, LMHCs, LCATs, PHDs, PSYD’s

Presenter: Michal Seligman, PsyD

Live on Zoom!

Most substance use treatment, including couple therapy, has been informed by a disease model of addiction that is expressed in an abstinence-only approach to treatment. Until recently, prominent couple therapy contributors have taught that effective couple therapy could not be conducted with problematic substance users. The reluctance to work with these couples was not only an outcome of the disease model but also a response to the particular challenges of working with them. These challenges can include dealing with emergencies, relapse and slips, repeated detox and rehab hospitalizations, volatility of behavior and affect, and often intense or chaotic sessions that can leave the therapist confused, angry, worried, helpless and deskilled.

As we move away from an anti-meaning disease model of addiction and embrace a model of addiction as personally and relationally meaningful, psychoanalytic exploration becomes an essential part of both individual and couple therapy.

I will present a harm reduction integrative model of couple therapy that combines the exploratory aspects of relational dynamics with behavioral therapy, motivational work, and interventions to enhance affect regulation. In addition, I will address common issues that couples face when one partner is using substances problematically and during the vulnerable period that follows inpatient rehabilitation.


Michal Seligman, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, and couple therapist. Dr. Seligman has been in practice for 30 years. She is a graduate of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. In her work with couples she integrates psychoanalytic ideas with the clinical observations and techniques of contemporary couple therapists.

Dr. Seligman specializes in the treatment of addictions and incorporates behavioral therapy for couples struggling with addictions.


July 13, 2022
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EDT