about the Program

Our program, called Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy for Military (ABCT_M) is one of several clinical research programs offered by our team of clinical research psychologists and psychiatrists.  Over 25 years we developed, tested, and published a successful couple-based program called Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy, to help people overcome alcohol and alcohol-related problems and to improve your relationship and overall well-being.   Now, we are adapting this couple-based program to be particularly useful for military personnel who are facing unique challenges at home after deployment.  Alcohol, feeling down, pain, trauma, isolation, and anger can get in the way of creating a “new normal” for service members and their families after war.  

Drinking or other drug use is sometimes used as a way to cope with painful or difficult situations, thoughts or feelings related to military experience and to transitioning back home.  Learning to communicate about and get support from your spouse/partner may be helpful to find new ways, other than drinking, to address and resolve problems such as depression, bad memories, trauma, and feelings of isolation.  Drinking also affects the family, and we can help you and your spouse/partner to better understand and support each other.  

You served our country. We thank you for your service.  Now we are here to respect and serve you in your life going forward. 

Through a clinical research study funded by the National Institutes of Health, we are able to offer Alcohol Behavioral Couple Therapy_Military to services members who think they may drink too much and who have a spouse or partner willing to attend sessions with them.  After a confidential and respectful evaluation, we will discuss with you whether you are eligible and if this clinical research program would be a good match for you to achieve your goals related to drinking and your relationship.   If so, you would enroll in a program of 15 weekly outpatient sessions of ABCT_Military with your spouse/partner and a clinician with specialized training in addiction and in working with military families.  This is not a group session – only you, your spouse/partner, and the clinician assigned to you will meet weekly at the University of Massachusetts Medical School offices in Worcester.   Emphasis will be on learning skills to cope with alcohol and other life problems.

Save Services

To be a participant in our treatment research program, you were also enrolled in the Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE) program, through the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services.  SAVE services range from referrals to VA services, telephone contact, crisis intervention, to home visits and transportation to providers if necessary.  

What the project offered

  • Confidential, state of the art couple outpatient assessment and treatment of drinking and related issues with a highly trained clinician. The protocol is being developed for military personnel. A team of military experts and experienced research psychologists are working together to develop this program.

  • One pre-treatment evaluation session

  • 15 weekly couple sessions

  • One follow-up research interview after outpatient study treatment is over

  • Payment for participation in the initial intake session and the follow up research interview


  • 18 or older

  • Have a drinking habit you want to change

  • Served or serving in the U.S. Military (any branch)

  • Have a spouse, partner, girlfriend/boyfriend, parent, step-parent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, grandparent, adult child or trusted friend who is willing to attend sessions with you