Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Prodependence: A New Perspective on Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

In recent years, the landscape of addiction recovery has been evolving, offering new insights and approaches for those affected by a partner’s addiction, particularly to pornography. Traditionally, the codependency model has been the dominant framework for understanding and treating the partners of addicts. However, the emergence of the prodependence model, as articulated by Rob Weiss and Kim Buck in their book "Practicing Prodependence: The Clinical Alternative to Codependency Treatment" (2022), presents a fresh perspective that emphasizes empathy and support over blame and pathology.

Understanding Codependency and Prodependence

The codependency model, developed in the context of alcoholism treatment, posits that partners of addicts often exhibit enabling behaviors that contribute to the addiction. This model suggests that these partners have a dysfunctional relationship pattern that needs correction. While this perspective has been useful in highlighting the unhealthy dynamics that can occur in relationships with addicts, it has also been criticized for sometimes pathologizing the partner's behavior, suggesting they are part of the problem rather than allies in the recovery process.

In contrast, the prodependence model offers a more compassionate and supportive approach. Weiss and Buck describe this perspective as one that recognizes and honors the love and commitment that partners show towards their addicted loved ones. The prodependence model shifts the focus from blaming partners for the addict’s behavior to understanding their actions as efforts to maintain attachment and provide support. As Weiss and Buck state, "With the prodependence model, therapists can meet spouses, partners, and loved ones of addicts where they are, which is coming from a place of love and desire for attachment" (Weiss & Buck, 2022, p. 99).

Educational Strategies in Prodependence

Education is a cornerstone of the prodependence approach. It involves helping partners understand the nature of addiction and the emotional and psychological challenges their loved ones face. This knowledge empowers partners to provide informed support without feeling guilty or responsible for the addict’s behavior. It also involves teaching partners self-care strategies, so they can maintain their own well-being while supporting their loved one.

The Role of Therapeutic and Coaching Interventions

Therapeutic interventions in the prodependence model emphasize collaboration and empathy. Therapists work with partners to acknowledge their efforts and struggles, offering validation rather than judgment. As Weiss and Buck highlight, "Rather than telling these folks they are an intrinsic part of the problem, we can acknowledge their hard work and the difficulties they've encountered in trying to help the addict" (Weiss & Buck, 2022, p. 99). This approach fosters a therapeutic alliance that is crucial for effective support and recovery.

Coaching interventions also play a vital role, providing partners with practical tools and strategies to cope with the challenges of living with an addict. Coaches can guide partners in setting healthy boundaries, developing effective communication skills, and finding balance in their lives. These interventions aim to strengthen the partner’s ability to support the addict’s recovery journey while also focusing on their personal growth and resilience.


The prodependence model offers a hopeful and empowering alternative to traditional codependency treatment for partners of pornography addicts. By recognizing the inherent desire for connection and support that partners bring to the relationship, this approach validates their efforts and provides a framework for healthy, supportive behavior. Emphasizing education and compassionate therapeutic interventions, prodependence fosters a supportive environment that benefits both the addict and their partner.

Floyd Godfrey PhD is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey PhD please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com


Weiss, R., & Buck, K. (2022). Practicing Prodependence: The Clinical Alternative to Codependency Treatment. Routledge.

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