What is the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) ?

The community-reinforcement approach (CRA) is a substance misuse treatment approach that aims to achieve abstinence by eliminating positive reinforcement for drinking and drug taking while enhancing positive reinforcement for sobriety. CRA integrates several treatment components, including building the client’s motivation to quit, helping the client initiate sobriety, analysing the client’s using pattern, increasing positive reinforcement, learning new coping behaviours, and involving significant others in the recovery process. CRA has been successfully integrated with a variety of other treatment approaches such as family therapy and motivational interviewing, and has been widely tested in the treatment of substance misuse.


This course covers the theory and practice of the Community Reinforcement Approach. Some of the topics included are: Guidelines for the CRA facilitator, Functional Analysis within CRA, developing a CRA Treatment Plan, Sobriety Sampling and Reduced Use, Behavioural Skills Training, Job and Vocational Skills Support, Social and Recreational Support, CRA and Relapse Prevention and Concluding the Intervention.Participants will also reinforce their learning through completion of online quizzes and assessments.


This course will provide you with an introduction to the theory and practice of the Community Reinforcement Approach with an emphasis on the work of Robert J. Myers in this area.


This course will enable participants to:

  • Understand the origins of the CRA approach.
  • To gain an overview of the research and empirical evidence that underpins this approach.
  • To understand the main principles that underpin this approach.
  • Understand the role that environmental contingencies play in the lives of those who have substance misuse problems.
  • Gain practice through simulation observation, in using this model with their clients.
  • To understand the concept of a functional analysis and how it is used in CRA.
  • To learn about antecedents and how these are broken down as part of the functional analysis.
  • To gain an understanding of the use of the Happiness Scale and Goals of Counselling Chart instruments of CRA.
  • To understand why Sobriety Sampling is used in the Community Reinforcement Approach.
  • To understand why vocational support is typically an ongoing component throughout CRA treatment.

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