What is the 5-Step Method?

The 5-Step Method, a brief psychosocial intervention. The 5-Step Method is an original method of working with family members of substance users and problem gamblers, developed and evaluated by the AFINet Group in the UK.  It presents a straightforward method for working with family members and seeks to support them in their own right as people negatively affected by a loved one’s substance use or problem gambling.

Key aspects and principles of the 5-Step Method

  • This intervention is focused on affected and concerned family members – In contrast to other models used with family members in the addiction field, the 5-Step Method is clearly focused on the family member themselves, not on who is affected by the substance misuse of another relative.
  • The method takes the view of family members as ordinary people attempting to respond to highly stressful experiences – Unlike some other models of addiction and the family, the 5-Step Method does not see the family member as a cause or a significant contributor to the development of the addiction problem, but as an ordinary person facing a challenging problem. The method is very flexible and adaptable to a range of settings and circumstances
  • One of the key strengths of the 5-Step Method is that it can be adapted to the specific circumstances and needs of services, settings and family members – The 5-Step Method can be learned and conducted by both workers and volunteers as well as in individual or group settings. The 5-Step Method can also be delivered in primary care centres by GP’s or at project level. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, the 5-Step Method can be delivered in sequential format (weeks 1-5) or if necessary can be delivered in one single session (with Step 1 being the most important Step).

The training supports practitioners to be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the Stress-Strain-Coping-Support model and the 5-Step Method.
  • Demonstrate proficient delivery of the 5-Step Method with adult family members
  • Participate in skills practice, group exercises and discussion to support new skills learned.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the self-assessment and peer-assessment process.
  • Explore how delivery of the 5-Step Method will work within your current practice.


Training is delivered over two days where you get all the background and it involves practical application during the session.

Accreditation Process

Once you have done your training we would encourage you to get your accreditation. You can apply the 5-Step Method in your work without the accreditation, but you cannot promote yourself as a 5-Step Practitioner and can’t offer the 5-Step Method as an intervention, only elements of it.

Having the accreditation is an invaluable tool and does not require re-accreditation or continual professional development to maintain your accreditation. The accreditation process is straight forward and we will support you through it.


The cost for each delegate on this training is €395. This fee includes the following:

  • Accreditation (this currently costs €250)
  • Training Materials (FMQ, research materials)
  • Practitioner Handbook
  • Family member handbook

If you want any further information or would like to book a place please get in touch.

Ph: 01-898 0148

M: 087 782 3863 : Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (9:30 – 17:00)

email: training@fsn.ie

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