Women, Girls, and Addiction: Celebrating the Feminine in Counseling Treatment and Recovery

Women, Girls, and Addiction: Celebrating the Feminine in Counseling Treatment and Recovery

Women, Girls, and Addiction: Celebrating the Feminine in Counseling Treatment and Recovery

Women, Girls, and Addiction: Celebrating the Feminine in Counseling Treatment and Recovery

Synopsis

Women, Girls, and Addictionis the first book on the efficacy of treatment approaches and interventions that are tailored to working with addicted women, and the first publication of any kind to provide a feminist approach to understanding the experience of addiction from the female perspective. Part I of the book provides an overview of feminist theory and addiction counseling, followed by an historical look at women and addiction (research, treatment, demographics). The three chapters in part two give an in-depth look at the biological, psychological, and social factors of the experience of addiction as unique in women. The final section of the book presents a series of chapters spanning the lifespan, which each feature age-specific special issues, treatment strategies, interventions, and commonly encountered topics in therapy with the population.

Excerpt

She sits across from me with tears in her eyes. Her skin smells musky, of hard work and hot sun, and her hair is carelessly tossed into a ponytail. She is dressed simply but neatly, in a cotton button-down shirt and blue jeans. She tells me about her five children, and of her struggles to find work, to feed them, to keep them all together in one household. Her devotion as a mother is clear, but her direction is not. She is 35 years old, African American, separated from her junkie husband. She is a cocaine and alcohol addict referred to me by her probation officer for treatment. I am a 26-year-old white woman from the suburbs whose drug use experience is limited to a handful of cigarettes, an occasional beer on a Friday night, and one failed attempt to get high on a secreted joint. She tells me about her struggles: She cannot find work because she doesn’t have a permanent address, and she cannot rent an apartment without a paycheck. She is at risk of losing custody of her beloved babies because she cannot stop using cocaine, the drug her former husband introduced her to. I listen to her describe the terrible poverty in her life, and I wonder how to overcome the impossible barriers between her and abstinence.

For counselors and counselor educators alike, addiction counseling presents a unique and difficult challenge. Counseling students are often mystified and intimidated by the process of treating addicted individuals, and experienced counselors can feel unprepared for clients who present with addiction issues. However, preparation for working with addicted clients is critical, necessary, and sorely needed. In 2005, approximately 8% of Americans aged 12 and older used illicit drugs, and about 23% had engaged in binge drinking in the previous 30 days.

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