Self Assessment: Working with Substance Abuse Clients



My Approach

After reviewing the web references, I wasn’t really sure of the types of approaches that made me feel most comfortable. However, I took a moment and reflected on the process groups and individual counseling sessions that I have led so far with the substance abuse population at my practicum site. From those reflections, one of the things that I heard as a motivator for them to recover are their families. After having this “moment of enlightenment”, it dawned on me that I often wonder about the families of substance abuse users and how they are affected. Therefore, I would have to say that I think a family approach would be one that I would be comfortable with. I think that it would have been one that would have been helpful in Sahira’s case because it appears that her anxiety and her reason for using stemmed from people/ issues in her family. Finally, from our references, I found Al-Anon Family Groups as a wonderful reference and resource for using the family approach. This organization focuses on the family. They host groups for spouses & partners, adult children, teens, parents, grandparents, and siblings. I believe, though, that the limitation with this group is that they only support alcoholics. This group would be more effective if it expanded its efforts to substance abuse families. 

My Strengths

I think one of my strengths in helping someone like Sahira is my ability to display compassion, empathy, and sympathy. I believe that these have all been useful in facilitating groups at my practicum site. I have been able to clearly hear the stories of the clients and use compassion, empathy, and sympathy to genuinely want to help them through treatment in any way that I can. I have found that for them, it is a constant battle that they have to fight everyday and sometimes they are fighting it alone. This is because they have pushed those closest to them away due to their drug abuse. 

My Areas of Improvement 

I think one area that I can improve upon is increasing my knowledge around substance abuse. Likewise, altering my thinking about substance abuse recovery and believing that there is a “quick fix”. I am learning through this course and working with the substance abuse population that addiction and its recovery are both very complex and are not easily “fixed”. 

Signing off! 



One thought on “Self Assessment: Working with Substance Abuse Clients

  1. Hi Ayzha!
    I loved reading about your “moment of enlightenment”! I think it is so important to consider the families of addicted individuals and understand the individual person within that context. Family can serve as a motivator and is often our strongest support system. At the same time, family issues can sometimes be the most hurtful and negative family relationships can lead to many thoughts and feelings that perpetuate addictive behaviors. Additionally, addictive behaviors of an individual heavily impact their family members and can create long lasting damage. Your idea is awesome because that approach enables you to address all of these things! I also think that family support and healthy family relationships can really decrease the chance of relapse, but families need to help and support to recover from and process their experiences in order to be able to do this. I think this is exactly why groups like the one you suggested are so helpful. Great suggestion!


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