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Skip Navigation LinksCurriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD > 5e. Counseling Strategies: Boundaries

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Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD


Counseling Strategies, Continued

Group counseling session with several people sitting around in a circle

It is important to establish a trusting and honest relationship while maintaining boundaries. Persons with an FASD often lack social skills and may make inappropriate comments, ask inappropriate questions, or touch the counselor inappropriately. To set boundaries, it may help to have the client walk through the rules and expectations and demonstrate expected behavior. Frequent role playing can help the client learn to apply concepts and figure out how to respond to various situations.

Persons with an FASD frequently experience difficulty with memory, so it is important to review rules regularly. It is much more effective to limit the number of rules, review them repeatedly, and role play different situations in which the person will need to recall the rules. Repetition is key. Assuming that a person with an FASD can remember because he or she has, or appears to have, a normal IQ is a mistake. FASD causes brain damage that can affect the ability to recall or apply rules.

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