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Competency 1: Introduction to FASD

Issues Related to Professional Values and Ethics

The role of the counselor in addiction treatment is to provide support and education. Addiction professionals also need to use treatment approaches that help women move from unhealthy, self-defeating, self-devaluing behaviors to healthy, self-enhancing, and self-nurturing behaviors. The counselor needs to understand the roots of alcohol abuse among women, as well as symptoms, motivation, problems, and issues to enhance engagement and treatment effectiveness.

Therapist and patient

It is important for the addiction professional to know and believe that women do not try to hurt their babies. Cases of women drinking to induce a miscarriage or harm the baby are very rare. Most women want healthy babies, but some cannot stop drinking, even when they are pregnant. Addiction professionals can provide needed support and understanding as women go through the difficult process of recovery.

Clients often feel a great deal of shame associated with their addictive behaviors. Some clients may learn about FASD and realize that their children might have an FASD. This discovery can increase their guilt and shame when they realize they have harmed their children permanently. Alcohol problems already carry a tremendous stigma in our society, particularly when women drink. To help resolve those feelings of shame and guilt, the counselor should encourage the client to speak honestly about her addictive behaviors and respond to the client with honesty, gentleness, and care.

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