Week 12 blog post

Discuss the complexity of working with clients who are also pregnant. How would a pregnancy change your approach to treatment? What issues might come up for you as a counselor? How might you talk about these risks with your client? How would you respond if your client continued to heavily drink or use substances while pregnant?

While working with a client who is pregnant, they may not have their unborn child’s best interest. The client may still have an addiction and still want to use their substance of choice. Also the parent may not understand the effects their substance abuse will have on their child. While working with a pregnant client, I think my approach would change because I may become more upfront because I would want my client to have a sense of urgency and to truly understand and change their behavior to save their child. An issue that may present itself is, that is that I would have to work in the best interest of the child and the mother. Another issue, is that I am not too familiar with the pregnancy process and the biological aspect of it. I would discuss the risks with my client by using various educational tools such as pamphlets, books, articles, and videos. I would also look for local peer support groups to help my client as well. I would talk to my client in sensitive but urgent fashion. If my client continued to drink heavily or use substances I would try to incorporate a multidisciplinary team consisting of a physician, social worker, and a nurse. Also, I would try to see if there are any legal action that can be taken in order to protect the child.

•What does it mean to you to advocate for clients and challenge bias? How do you feel about taking on that role? Is that a role you expected to take on as a counselor? Are there some groups for whom it would be harder or easier for you to advocate for? Does that reflect on your own beliefs and values? How so?

To be an advocate means to stand up for clients and populations that are being stigmatized and discriminated against. I think it is important to show our clients we are willing to help in any way that we can. By being an advocate we are not only helping our clients but other individuals dealing with the same presenting problem. Also we will be able to bring awareness to the presenting issue. I believe being a counselor is an expected role to take on as a counselor because we should not just sit back and allow our clients to suffer to the various problems that plague them.
I believe that it would be hard for me to be an advocate for people who have abused or neglected children in any way because I believe that everyone deserves a chance to live a full, healthy, and productive lives. Children are innocent, helpless, and have no way to defend themselves. I have a 2 year-old nephew and a 9 month-old niece. I could never think about hurting them in any way. I do not know how I would react if someone hurt them.

•Using the Blog References, find and specifically report on at minimum of four websites that you could use for information regarding gender and/or LGBT issues in addictions counseling. Give a minimum of one paragraph of explanation for each site listed.

Alcohol Addiction

The pride institute provides information about the symptoms of gays and lesbians, who are alcoholics. This website provides statistics about the LBGT community and alcoholism. Another aspect of this website is, it provides different ways alcoholism can be addressed. This website also provides the same information for a variety of other substances such as, crystal meth, opioids, and cocaine.

http://www.nalgap.org/PDF/Resources/ProvidersGuide-SAMSHA.pdf

SAMSHA has a publication titled, “ A Provider’s introduction to substance abuse treatment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.” This resource provides information about the various aspects of working with individuals in the LGBT community. Some of the information it provides are the cultural, legal, and clinical issues while working with the LGBT community. Also, this resource provides policies, procedures, education, and training to work with this population.

http://www.recovery.org/topics/find-the-best-gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender-lgbt-addiction-recovery-centers/

The recovery website discusses the best recovery centers for the LGBT community. This resource provides statistics about addiction and the LGBT community. Also, this website provides information about the prevalence of addiction in the LGBT community. The recovery.org resource is guide to find the best recovery centers in the country. This resource provides information on the different types of LGBT recovery programs.

http://www.algbtic.org/

The Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling, helps to bring awareness to counselors, advocacy for clients, and equality for all. This organization wants to help counselors to improve how they provide their services to the LGBT community. Also, this organization provides a journal to help promote the problems and solutions to working with the LGBT community.

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My views on substances

My attitudes towards of substance when I was a child were negative. I believed that drugs of all kind were wrong. I never saw the appeal of using substances. Due to the various ad campaigns and my parents constantly warning me about the dangers of drugs I would never thought I would use any of it. My parents had to keep warning me not to do drugs and the effects they can have because we lived in a community where drugs and alcohol were a huge problem. As an adolescent, I started to see and hear about more of my friends using drugs and alcohol. I still tried my best to stay away from them. Many of my peers would discuss how great and great of time they would have while taking drugs. I was often too afraid to try. But I did give into peer pressure as an adolescent and decided to use marijuana in order to impress some of my peers and to fit in. I did not realize the harm I was doing to myself and my reputation. By smoking marijuana I was going against everything I believed about substances. But I never drank alcohol as a teenager because of my parents told me about how alcoholism runs in our family.

As an adult, I stopped using marijuana. I believed that I have become a more productive person. Also, I find myself to be able to think clearly now. Although, I believe the effects of marijuana are less severe than cigarettes and alcohol I think that children should not use it and should be only used for medical purposes. My stance on alcohol has changed some because I do drink alcohol in some social events. But I still think restaurants and other businesses should regulate how much alcohol a person should purchase and consume.
As a future counselor, I believe it would be difficult to work with someone who views substances from a different perspective because, I may find myself becoming emotional invested on the subject. But I think I would realize that this person has had different life experiences that has shaped their perspective. I need to be open enough to hear where my client is coming from and come up with skills that will help them change their unhealthy behaviors and create more healthy and productive habits. At the end of the day they need help.

Overall, my parents, teachers, and various advertisements advised me about drugs. Although, many people in my community, friends, and family members were heavy substance abusers, I believed what I learned from my parents, teachers, and media advertisements helped me not to become a heavy substance abuser. I never really saw the appeal of drugs as a child because, I saw the effects of substances every day when I walked out the door.
Although I have made some mistakes in the past, I am glad that I was able to overcome and not let those mistakes take control over my life.

Session 9 Blog Post

During my teenage years I experienced many changes and stress in my life. I was often made fun of my height, my voice, and for trying to excel in my academics. I never felt I fit in any of the social groups in my middle school and high school. I always had difficulty relating and making friends with my peers. Most of the time I felt like an outcast. I became unmotivated and did not want to pursue anything. I felt that I did not have any support because I did not want my parents to think I was weird or anything. My main source for support, my brother was concerned with his social life and education. He never paid me much attention during my teenage years. I turned to food as a coping mechanisms. I often found myself eating at every chance. All the food I ate was unhealthy. Oftentimes, I would eat most of the food in the house. I would buy food everyday after school to deal with my troubles. Most of time, I ate hid food in my room so that my family would not notice my eating habits. I think they noticed all the weight I was gaining, but did not want to hurt my feelings. I turned to food because it brought me instant gratification. Food also took me to a state of euphoria. I did not realize how unhealthy my habits until my early 20’s.

12-step program

Session 8

The facilitation of the 12-step program relates to my personal theory of life, the role of God. I grew up in a strong Christian household. My father was an United Methodist pastor for a number of years. He and my mother always made sure that God played a major role in our lives. Today I always try to keep God first in my life and to rely on him. I really try to be respectful and obedient to God. I am unsure if I want to incorporate this aspect into my counseling because not everyone believes in God or in another higher power. I would never want my clients to feel uncomfortable because they feel I am imposing my views onto them I really believe it is important to have unity. It is important to have unity in order to have someone a strong support system. Members will be able to have empathy for each other. I would like to incorporate unity because it is important for everyone to get along and respect one another in order to have a positive impact on each other.

I really do not think 12-step facilitation relates to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I think that the 12-step program focuses on God and spirituality. The 12-step program does not focus on developing new thoughts and behaviors. 12- step programs more on support and relapse prevention rather than changing a client’s maladaptive thoughts and behaviors.

Views on Pharmacotherapy

I do support pharmacotherapy. For the damage that drugs have on the mind and body, clients may need pharmacotherapy in order to cope with the effects of the drugs on the clients. Also, pharmacotherapy provides an alternative to traditional therapy for clients that are having difficulty in traditional therapy. Pharmacotherapy may help clients with their physical and mental side effects of drugs. It is important for clients to get help with the neurological and biological effects that traditional effects that traditional counseling may not address. I believe it is important that pharmacotherapy is used with a traditional therapeutic method. Clients should not solely rely on pharmacotherapy because they may become dependent on the medication or not see the importance of traditional therapy. Clients, also, need to take some of the responsibility and accountability for their recovery. Addictions is such a complex issue, it is important for clients to participate in various treatments that will address various issues associated with this problem. Before starting pharmacology, it is important for counselors to inform their clients of the different aspects of pharmacotherapy in order to see if their clients are willing to participate in it.

Connecting as a client and counselor

I believe that I often overlook the client inside of me. I often find myself willing to help the people around me, which I rarely deal with my own presenting problems. I always concern myself with helping others that I never take the time to address my own problems. When others ask me, “is everything okay?” I always quickly say “yes.”
I do not believe that I do this in a self-righteous manner. I think I do it because I have always felt comfortable suppressing my emotions and keeping my problems private. I often place my focus on others because I am afraid of results if I decide to work on my problems.

In order to stay in contact with my inner client I have to be willing to acknowledge that do have your own problems. Also, I believe it is important to seek and attend counseling in order to work through presenting problems that may hinder us from becoming a more effective counselor. Self-care is an important aspect to this issue because the counselor has to be willing not to allow their problems to overwhelm them and then allow it to lead to burnout.

I really think it is important for me to first acknowledge my presenting problems. Next, I have to be willing to seek and attend counseling in order to become a better counselor and person. I think I need to practice self-care so, that I will not let my problems consume me and have a negative effect on every aspect of my life.

I believe my understanding of “everyone needs help” will help not to view the counseling relationship as “us” versus “them.” At the end of the day I should not look down at my clients and place myself on a pedestal. Also, I have to remember the counseling relationship is a collaborative relationship. Also, I believe my non-confrontational approach will allow me work with my clients, instead of telling them what to do and creating arguments with my clients. An open and inviting environment will help my clients to become open, honest, and willing to participate in the counseling process.

My characteristics

The foundational philosophy of counseling I feel most comfortable with is, advocacy. While growing up in a low-socioeconomic community, I have seen many people who needed help but did not have a voice. Many people in these communities have problems admitting they have a problem, seeking help, and having their voices heard. I have seen the many negative effects that it can have on person. Some of the effects are hopelessness, worthlessness, depression, confusion, and unaware. I would like to be an advocate for those who need more resources, those who are overlooked, and face many injustices on a daily basis. I want to show my clients that I genuinely care for them and is willing to be an advocate to make sure they are provided with everything they need in order to live full, healthy, positive, and productive lives.

I believe that I am a hopeful person. I think we should never give up on our clients. We should always be patient and know that if we instill hope into our clients that they will make the changes they need to make. We need to always make sure that our clients always remain hopeful. I do believe that I am motivating and encouraging. I am always supportive to others in their endeavors because it may give the person confidence they need in order to achieve their goals. It is always important to know that there are people who are in your corner, who are willing to be genuinely supportive. I am always willing to give words of encouragement to others to help with their self-esteem. It is important to praise clients on all progress whether big or small because “slow motion is better than no motion.” I believe that I do not have a judgmental attitude. It is important to accept others no matter their differences because it may help them to be open and comfortable to the therapeutic process. Also, it will allow clients to feel included in the therapeutic process. We should never be prejudice or discriminate against others just because they are different. Everyone should have the opportunity to be the best help possible.