2-day Workshop on The 5-Step Method: Supporting Family Members of People with Drug, Alcohol and Gambling Problems

Richard Velleman, a founder AFINet member, is travelling to Hong Kong in April to co-run (with Grace Leung, also an AFINet member) some initial 5-Step training for practitioners there. The flyer advertising this event is available if you click here. Some details about our Hong Kong collaboration are contained on the International Research & Training Map.

2-day Workshop on The 5-Step Method:

Supporting Family Members of People with Drug, Alcohol and Gambling Problems


Prof. Richard Velleman & Dr. Gracemary Leung

“….the behaviour of the (substance misusing or gambling relative) causes stress for the family member, that stress leads to strain (for example, physical and psychological symptoms) …  the improvements which had been noted at the 12-week stage in the levels of symptoms that family members experienced … reduced further over the subsequent 9 months.  The majority of family members also rated their situation as changed for the better after the intervention had finished, and for a substantial time after that…. These results suggest that a relatively simple and brief intervention enables family members to re-appraise their lives with respect to their substance misusing relative, to see the impact as being less of a strain, to revise their methods of coping, and to have a resulting reduction in the level of symptoms they experience.” (Velleman et al., 2011)

An exciting opportunity to attend a training workshop delivered by one of the foremost authorities in this subject, and one of the originators of the 5-Step Method for helping family members affected by a relative’s alcohol, drugs or gambling problems.  The training will be focused on participants acquiring the skills needed for them to use this method effectively; at the end of training, participants will be able to deliver the 5-Step Method to their patients/clients.

About the 5-Step Method

The 5-Step Method is an original method of working with family members of substance users and problem gamblers, developed and evaluated in a number of health-care and NGO environments by the Course Tutor and his colleagues.  It presents a tenable and straightforward method for working with family members that seeks to support them in their own right as people negatively affected by a loved one’s substance use or problem gambling.  The method is grounded in rigorous research and a clear theoretical model which underpins the intervention.  The 5-Step approach is both simple and effective in filling a gap that exists for family support that does not see family members solely as supporters for their loved one with substance or gambling problems but as people needing support for themselves in their own right.  Importantly, the 5-Step method does not require people to be experts in either substance use /gambling treatment or family support.  This is key to its applicability in a range of health and social care settings and means that people can use this method even if they think that they don’t know enough to work with either substance misuse /gambling problems or with family members.


  1. To introduce participants to the Stress-Strain-Coping-Support model of understanding the effects of a relative’s substance misuse /problem gambling on family members
  2. To provide an overview of the 5-Step intervention Method
  3. To train practitioners to deliver the 5-Step Method
  4. To examine practice issues (such as dealing with domestic violence, providing 5-Step in groups, etc) and implementation within one’s workplace


This will be a participatory workshop, with a small amount of input from the tutor related to the research background and the theoretical model, observation of video demonstrations of the use of the 5-Step method, role play work by the participants, and group discussion.


The training workshop is relevant to those with an interest in supporting family members of people with drug, alcohol and gambling problems.  This may include clinicians, researchers, policy makers and program coordinators. They could be working in the public health sector, private health sector and NGOs.


Richard Velleman
is Emeritus Professor of Mental Health Research at the University of Bath, UK and Senior Research Consultant at Sangath Community NGO, Goa, India.  He is a leading authority on substance misuse, with a special interest in the impact of this misuse on other family members, including children.  He is a founder of the Alcohol, Drugs and the Family UK research network and of AFINet (Addiction and the Family International Network: http://www.afinetwork.info/. Richard is both a clinical and an academic psychologist.  His research and practice interests cover a wide spectrum within mental health, with a particular interest in the impact of substance misuse and mental health issues on family members, especially children, as well as broader research and practice interests in counselling, substance misuse, and children & families.

Gracemary Leung
is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who both trained in clinical psychology and was awarded her PhD in the UK. A highly experienced clinical psychologist, she is currently Hon Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of HK, an Associate Fellow of both the British and the Hong Kong psychological societies, and a member of the International Advisor Panel to the Ministry of Singapore (Gambling), an experienced worker in mental health and with problem gamblers.

Details of Workshop

Date        : 29 & 30 April, 2014 (Tue & Wed)

Time        : 9:30 am – 5:30 pm

Venue     : 2/F., 5 Sassoon Road, HK.

Fee          : HK$2,800 (Handbook & DVD provided)


The 2-day workshop will be conducted in English     


CLICK HERE to read more and to download the workshop registration form.

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Technical problems with membership applications

We have just discovered that the AFINet Membership application form has not been working for the last 6 months, due to a technical error. While it has been fixed now, all applications since May have been lost (we had assumed that the lack of applications was due to Covid!).

We are very sorry for this. If you have applied for membership and have not received a response, we would kindly ask you to re-complete and re-submit the form (to be found here: www.afinetwork.info/members/apply-for-membership). If you know of any colleagues or friends who have tried to join AFINet over this period, it would be very helpful if you could forward this information to them, and encourage them to re-apply.

The AFINet Trustees