o 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?
One of the complexities of working with clients who are also pregnant deals with the fact that I am now assessing what is best for both the client, as well as, the unborn child. One issue that might come up for me as a counselor working with a pregnant client is that I may have a client that is abusing alcohol and other drugs while pregnant. Capuzzi and Stauffer (2012) stated that, “Pregnant women who abuse alcohol put their babies at risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), the most preventable form of mental retardation” (p. 367). I would discuss these issues with my client by educating them about the risks and dangers of using while pregnant. Also, women that use drugs while pregnant increase the risk for suffering miscarriages, and delivering prematurely.
The following question, “How would you respond if your client continued to heavily drink or use substances while pregnant” was literally a question that my friend asked me the other day. It took me some time to formulate the most appropriate response, as I wouldn’t want to appear as though I am judging the client. In all reality, when I see woman that is smoking and drinking while pregnant, it truly bothers me. It upsets me to think that the baby is taking the brunt of the substances, alcohol, smoke, etc. I believe if you decide to bring a child into this world, you should do the best that you can to provide the child with unconditional love, time, and support. While the baby is in the mother’s womb, it makes me upset to think about how women will smoke a cigarette and act like it’s nothing. Instead of the baby taking in healthy nutrients and food, the baby is inhaling cigarette smoke. I guess if I had a client that continued to smoke and drink while pregnant I would explore deeper issues. I would wonder whether the mother wants the child, or whether she is dealing with some type of mental illness that causes her to feel the need to self-medicate with substances.
o 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?
As a future counselor, my goal is to always be an active advocate for my clients. I am a firm believer of equality and social justice, so I take my role as an advocate very seriously. When thinking about groups that I feel may be hard for me to be an advocate for are clients that have a history of abuse to animals, children, the elderly, or people with disabilities. If I were in a session and a client disclosed to me any of the following indications of abuse, obviously I would be mandated to immediately report it, but I may be given clients that are court-ordered to see me and have this history.
o 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.
On the website, the Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC) is devoted to raising awareness about LGBT issues. The website provides various sections for information on the ALGBTIC State Branches, the mission of the ALGBTIC, resources for learning about LGBTQ issues, and affirmative resources to counseling professionals and educators, community organizations, LGBT individuals, and their families and friend friends. I think this website provides a great deal of information regarding the current events and issues that are occurring in the LGBT community, which is valuable to know when working with LGBT clients.
This website is for people, especially mothers, who want to learn about the problems that threaten the health of babies. The website provides research updates on infants’ health issues, materials for professionals, and local programs that are devoted to improving the health of babies across the country. If I work with a client who is pregnant and is seeking resources that allow her to learn more about her pregnancy, this is excellent resource to show the client. Also, the website provides sections that deal with ways to cope with pregnancy loss, newborn loss, and dealing with grief.
The Human Rights Campaign works for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equal rights. The website provides resources to aid and help youth with the coming out process, and provides information on hate crimes, marriage, and current issues in the LGBT community. This website is a great resource for both LGBT individuals’, as well as, other individuals who want to learn more about the LGBT community.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) provides addiction and health information for both men and women. Along with information on addiction and health, the website provides information for women who want to learn more about Breast Cancer, breastfeeding, fitness and nutrition, menopause, mental health, pregnancy, and violence against women.
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2012). Foundations of addictions counseling (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.