Over approximately the past three decades, codependency has been the primary model for identifying unhealthy relationships in the presence of addiction. Codependency emerges when one person in a relationship cannot or does not care for themselves, and rather relies on their partner for basic needs. In turn, the partner typically begins to set aside their own needs or wants in order to ensure that the other’s are met. When process or substance addictions are at play, the addict typically struggles to lead a functional life, and comes to rely on his or her loved ones or spouse who then fall into patterns of caretaking. Applying the term “codependent” to a relationship comes with negative connotations, often suggesting that attempts to help a loved one with an addiction are only serving to perpetuate their behavior. Although codependency is a real danger for some, the current understanding of these relationships may lead those close to addicts to believe that they need to cut ties.

Recently, “prodependency” has emerged to counteract this idea. Coined by our speaker, Robert Weiss, the term prodependency is meant to define relationships with addicts that are loving and beneficial — in which a spouse or loved one can support an addict without enabling or hiding their addiction. Caretaking habits come from a place of love and support — as clinicians, therapists and experts, we can mold those emotions into a productive outlet rather than shutting them down. Research invariably shows that treatment is more successful when friends and family members participate in recovery, so it’s counterproductive to convince loved ones that addicts need to heal without their help. The prodependence model seeks to shift this perception for more positive outcomes.

About the Workshop

With support from Seeking Integrity, LLC, “Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency” will be a comprehensive platform to discuss the pitfalls of the codependency model and to learn where prodependence can fill in the gaps. We will view these terms from various perspectives, including therapists, addicts and loved ones. Topics may also include situations in which codependency is applicable, the broader public perception of relationships in the presence of addiction and an exploration of why loved ones’ participation in recovery is so vital. Our goal is to spark a dialogue about the stigma against helping those struggling with addiction, and to learn how we can avoid alienating loved ones with outdated language.

Level of Instruction: Intermediate

Meet the Expert

Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT, ABD

Robert Weiss is a digital-age intimacy and relationships expert specializing in infidelity and process addictions such as sex, porn and love addiction. An internationally acknowledged clinician, he frequently serves as a subject expert on human sexuality for multiple media outlets including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, The Oprah Winfrey Network, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR, among others.

A skilled clinical educator, Mr. Weiss routinely provides training to therapists, the US military, hospitals and psychiatric centers in the US and abroad. Over the years, he has created and overseen more than a dozen high-end addiction and mental health treatment facilities. Currently, he is CEO of Seeking Integrity, LLC, a digital company being developed as an online resource for recovery from infidelity and sexual addiction.


The 2018 Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders takes place in Hyannis, Massachusetts from September 13th through 16th. This year’s agenda includes workshops, lectures, courses and special events that focus on a variety of topics relevant to the addiction treatment industry, from breakthroughs in care modalities to best practices for managers and administrators. To learn more about our 2018 offerings, review our full agenda and course lists. Registration is now open for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

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  • I especially VALUE that CCSAD is the primary multidisciplinary conference for practicing clinicians and policy-makers, where integrative care management is so clearly shown to be in our patients' best interests.

  • This Symposium always gives me new insights and perspectives re: addiction and conditions for treatment strategies. I always learn something new and am always eager to pass it on.

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