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Recovery Court/Relapse Prevention


Recovery Court is a program utilized as a practical method of treatment to assist the client with the internalization of responsibility for the prevention of relapse. The model is particularly effective with the criminal justice client and “street” addict but has therapeutic value for all substance abuse clients.

The following model may be used as a Group Therapy process, Educational program or a specific on-going Track or Program in a substance abuse treatment setting. If the group is larger, the remaining peers may be present as observers. The program also includes a thirty-five question screening tool that is utilized to educate and prepare group members for the process.



  • Counselor as Judge

  • Client as Presenter

  • Client Peer as Defense Attorney

  • Client Peer as Prosecution Attorney

  • TClient Peers (3-8) as Jury


Recovery Court challenges the individual to present their patterns/history of relapse, warning signs and triggers, along with a specific relapse prevention plan. The plan is then defended by one of his peers who serves as a defense attorney for the purpose of identifying the strengths of his plan. Another peer member fills the role of prosecuting attorney to identify the weaknesses in the plan. Additional group members function as a jury to provide feedback and an over-all rating system that evaluates the presenter’s relapse prevention plan.

The client utilizes this process to assist him/her with evaluating and developing a realistic individualized relapse prevention plan. The counselor functions in the role of judge to ensure group focus and productive discussion. The Recovery process is most effective when followed up with individual counseling sessions that assist the client with further internalization of his/her specific on-going recovery needs.



NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASERelapse/Recovery CourtGuide and Workbook

©2005, Penny Pennachi



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