Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Christopher Burnett

Committee Member

Natalie Rothman

Committee Member

Shazia Akhtarullah


Opioid addiction is a current health crisis in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 1.7 million Americans were addicted to opioids in 2017 (NIH, 2020, para 2). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 Americans die every day due to an opioid overdose (CDC, 2019, para.1). Those in treatment are 60% more likely to relapse within the first 90 days post-treatment (Weich, 2010). Marriage and Family Therapists may often work in treatment settings addressing addiction and recovery. This study utilized a Solution Focused Brief Therapy lens to seek to understand the life experiences of individuals with at least 10 years sober from opioids and what factors assisted them in achieving long-term sobriety. This study also aims to contribute to further defining long-term sobriety as it relates to opioids. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis design was used to examine the life experiences of individuals with at least 10 years sober to identify factors that contributed to their long-term sobriety. The results of this study offer individuals, families, and therapists a look at the many, inter-related factors that support long-term sobriety with suggestions for future research.