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Lapse And Relapse Management

Recovery has a fluctuating course and so Lapse And Relapse Management is necessary when learning any new skill. It is applicable to most CBT work, as well as work with addictions. This worksheet encourages reflection upon lapse and relapse and focuses on what can be learned from them.


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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) teaches clients life skills for managing problems. Setbacks and obstacles are a part of life and so Lapse And Relapse Management is necessary when learning any new skill since setbacks are anticipated parts of the learning process. 'Planning for' and 'learning from' relapse are helpful parts of therapeutic work. Lapse and relapse management is a particularly necessary component of work with addictions / dual diagnosis, but can be helpful in other areas of therapy where clients have learned a new skill and are learning to apply it to their life.


The sections of the worksheet guide clients to reflect upon a recent setback and include sections on:
  • Why the setback occurred (triggers, vulnerability factors, what sense has been made from it)
  • What I have learned from the setback
  • With hindsight what I would do differently (planning)
  • What I’ll do from now on (making a concrete plan)
  • Reflection on times that I’m likely to be vulnerable to other setbacks


  • Marlatt, G.A and Donovan, D.M (2005). Relapse Prevention: Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Addictive Behaviours (2nd edition). Guilford Press.