Recovery Coach (RC)

About This Program

Target Population: Adults 18 years or older who have a primary substance use disorder (co-occurring conditions are expected)

Program Overview

The Recovery Coach (RC) program is an intensive, community-based case management intervention for people who have entered an addiction treatment program or need support to access treatment. The program is designed as an integrated component of a comprehensive addiction treatment continuum. The primary purpose of the recovery coach program is to help individuals gain access to needed resources, services, or supports that will help them achieve recovery from their substance use disorder (SUD). Recovery coaches can help individuals address multiple domains in the their life that have been impacted by their SUD but are difficult to address within conventional treatment programs, such as returning to employment or finding stable housing. Recovery coaches can also help individuals transition through the continuum of addiction treatment. Finally, recovery coaches can help individuals sustain their recovery after the formal addiction treatment component has been completed through consultation and in vivo skills training.

Program Goals

The goals of the Recovery Coach (RC) program are:

  • Increase access for adults with SUD to addiction treatment services (i.e., improve engagement with a provider)
  • Sustain engagement of adults with SUD through a continuum of addiction treatment services that can extended beyond six months
  • Provide community-based skills training to assist adults with SUD in generalizing their skills acquired in formal treatment services
  • Increase the recovery capital of an adult with a SUD, such as employment, stable housing, and access to medical care

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Recovery Coach (RC).

Essential Components

The essential elements of the Recovery Coach (RC) program include:

  • Community-based – at least 75% of contacts occur outside of the RC office (the phone can be classified as community-based as well)
  • Person-centered and strength-based service delivery model – services are tailored to the goals and needs of each individual
  • Brief in terms of duration – around one to three months
  • Intensive services that includes 2 to 3 contacts weekly for the first four weeks and one contact a week thereafter
  • Harm reduction model that allows individuals to learn how to live without alcohol and other drugs in the community
  • Focus on skills training using evidence-based behavioral and cognitive behavior training techniques – every contact is based on a skills-training objective
  • Emphasis on expanding each person's resources to promote sustainable recovery, such as acquiring a job, attending mutual support groups, finding childcare, or accessing transportation or medical care

Program Delivery

Adult Services

Recovery Coach (RC) directly provides services to adults (regardless of whether they are parents or caregivers) and addresses the following:

  • The target behavior is substance use, but recovery coaches are trained to address other related behaviors such as panic attacks, depression, or stress.
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Recovery coaches assist individuals in expanding their recovery support system, with a strong emphasis on educating family members and significant others on how to support the person's recovery process while avoiding punishing them – training techniques are based on the Community Reinforcement Approach – Family Therapy (CRAFT) Model of addiction treatment

Recommended Intensity:

2 to 3 contacts a week for the first four weeks and weekly thereafter. Each contact is based on the skills-training objective, which could range from 15 minutes to review a relapse prevention plan to two hours of learning how to interact in a mutual help group while managing anxiety.

Recommended Duration:

One to three months on average, but recovery coaches can provide ongoing support, mostly through phone contacts, for over six months when needed (biweekly or monthly contact after three months).

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community Daily Living Setting


Recovery Coach (RC) includes a homework component:

The RC model is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) training techniques. Each contact is based on a learning objective or skill to develop or enhance. Individuals are asked to practice new skills between contacts following CBT protocols.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

Laptop computers with aircards (or similar technology; e.g., iPAD), cell phones, and access to transportation

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Recovery coaches require extensive supervision and ongoing training from a Master-level clinician skilled in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
  • David Loveland, PhD, Director of Research
    Human Service Center

    phone: (309) 671-8090
Training Type/Location:

Onsite training is provided, but not recommended until a program has had time to develop the structures needed to support the program, e.g., access to a well-trained, master-level clinician.

Number of days/hours:

Extensive training is needed, but most of it can be provided by the organization – start up training for new programs has included 2 to 6 full days of training (3 to 6 day trainings have occurred over several months)

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Recovery Coach (RC).

Additional References

Boyle, M., Loveland, D. L., & George, S. (2010). Implementing recovery management in a treatment organization. In Kelly, J & White, W. (Eds). Addiction Recovery Management: Theory, research and practice (pp. 235-258).

Loveland, D., & Boyle, M. (2005). Manual for Recovery Coaching and personal recovery plan development. Training manual prepared for the Illinois Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. BHRM Project. Contact the program representative (bottom of the page) to request the manual.

White, B., Boyle, M., & Loveland, D. L. (2003). A model to transcend the limitations of addiction treatment. Behavioral Health Management, 23(3). Contact the program representative to request a copy of the article.

Contact Information

David Loveland, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Community Care Behavioral Health Organization
Phone: (412) 402-7570

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: July 2014

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: December 2022

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: October 2012