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5-Step Method

5-Step Method in addiction services

Addiction workers often engage with whānau members who want and need support to address the impact of their relative’s problematic substance use or gambling behaviour on themselves and others.

The 5-Step Method is an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach that supports whānau members of people experiencing addiction issues to respond and cope more effectively. It was developed in the UK and extensively researched in several other countries and cultures by members of the Addiction and Family International Network (AFINet). The research took place within cultures from both collective and individualistic world views and emerging evidence suggests it is effective for whānau members in Aotearoa New Zealand. A brief summary of the research has been produced as an infographic.

Kaikohe post-training evaluation

During the 2023 training in Kaikohe participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with the course, please find the evaluation report here.

What is involved?

Provided by trained addiction workers, the 5-Step Method involves:

  1. getting to know whānau members and hearing their story
  2. providing relevant and accurate information specific to their situation
  3. exploring ways of coping and responding to reduce stress and improve communication
  4. exploring and enhancing social support
  5. reviewing and arranging further help if needed.

Who should use it?

The 5-Step Method training is developed for addiction workers who assist whānau members, whether their relative with problematic alcohol, substance use or gambling is in treatment, or not. It equips addiction workers with knowledge and skills to help whānau focus on their wellbeing and the needs of other family members, including children.

Te Pou and the 5-Step Method

Te Pou supports addiction services with:

  • preparing for successful implementation of the 5-Step Method into the workplace
  • organising training for addiction workers (two-day workshops with an accredited trainer)
  • supporting accreditation of addiction workers (assessment by an accredited assessor).

After achieving accreditation, 5-Step Method practitioners can also train to become accredited 5-Step Method trainers and assessors.

Key Contact


Jason Jones (he/him)


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