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It is helpful for a couples therapist working with clients involved in 12-Step Recovery to have some knowledge of 12-Step program, values and traditions. A common struggle for any couple is creating intimacy and support balanced with allowing for individual differences and autonomy. Maintaining mutual respect for separate choices while having shared goals and values is essential in a long-term relationship.
Problems can arise when partners may have started out in a 12 Step program together and one decides to leave or has a relapse. Other issues arise when from the beginning , one is involved in 12 Step and the other is not. It can be natural for one to feel the loss of mutual support or even feel their own recovery is at risk. A therapist who is familiar with the spiritual foundation of 12-Step Programs and who is comfortable with the structure, language and model of recovery, then can help a couple trying to navigate through the difficulties in relatioship that arise from such differences.
Marlena Kushner, MFT
Women’s Therapy Services


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