Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground. Substance Abuse Counseling and Psychological Counseling


Substance abuse education and counseling, psychological counseling (where appropriate), and other therapeutic activities should be provided by practitioners who are licensed or certified to provide these services and matched in competency to the populations served.

Services should be offered in the context of families and relationships, including individual/group/family therapy.  Counseling for partners and fathers of babies should be promoted/provided at critical times throughout treatment.

Counseling should address low self-esteem; race and ethnicity issues; gender-specific issues; family of origin relationships; attachment to unhealthy interpersonal relationships; interpersonal violence, including incest, rape, and other abuse; eating disorders; sexuality; parenting issues; grief related to loss of alcohol and other drugs, children, family, partner, work, and appearance; creating a support system that may or may not include family and/or partner; developing a vision for the future and creating a life plan; and therapeutic recreational activities for women alone and with their children.

Parenting Education.  Counseling, including information on child development, child safety, injury prevention, and child abuse prevention should be provided.  Parenting education should be integrated with substance abuse counseling in order to be recovery-oriented.  A woman's family of origin issues that affect parenting should be addressed in a way that supports rather than compromises her stage of recovery.

Relapse prevention should be a discrete component or phase of each woman's recovery plan.

Flexibility and creativity should be stressed in the use and timing of therapeutic approaches.  Accusatory, judgmental, and humiliation techniques are inappropriate and have not been proven to be effective.