Assignment: LBGT Community and Addiction Treatment
With regard to the addiction treatment in the context of the LBGT community, there are several risk factors that serve as barriers to effective substance abuse treatment. Some of these issues exist within the treatment environment, including ‘heterosexist comments and reactions from their peers’ as well as ‘staff members who lack education’ about the specific concerns of LBGT community members (Senreich, 2010a, p. 1077). As a result, LBGT clients may feel unable to be honest as well not feeling ‘adequately support to the necessary therapeutic work’ (Senreich, 2010a, p. 1077). This, in turn, contributes to feelings of alienation and isolation.LBGT Community and Addiction Treatment
Consequently, LGBT clients may not feel able to explore relevant issues such as ‘the relationship between the use of substances and social aspects of being gay, lesbian, or bisexual’ and the use of substances as a coping mechanism for ‘feelings of internalized heterosexism and/or the stresses of societal oppression’ (Senreich, 2010a, p. 1078). Since these issues directly relate to sexual orientation issues, it is important to create an environment which engenders support and safety. Without the right environment and clients who feel supported and safe, ‘LGBT individuals may have more difficult treatment experiences and/or poorer outcomes in substance abuse treatment than do heterosexual clients’ (Senreich, 2010b, p. 430).
In understanding these risk factors, I am able to not only make sure the environment is conducive and supportive, but also to make sure my colleagues are educated about LBGT issues. I better understand the connection between sexual orientation and substance abuse, namely in the sense of societal pressures, which helps me understand potential elements that may need addressing in therapy. The more we understand those unique elements, the better able we are to help them, meaning those clients will be more honest (Beatty et al., 2003) and able to help themselves. Assignment: LBGT Community and Addiction Treatment
- Beatty, R. L., Gruskin, E., Hsi, A., Anne Jillson, I., Neisen, J., & Ross, M. (2003). Bridging science and practice in LGBT health. Clinical Research & Regulatory Affairs, 20(2), 229-246.
- Senreich, E. (2010a). Are specialized LGBT program components helpful for gay and bisexual
men in substance abuse treatment? Substance Use & Misuse, 45(7/8), 1077-1096.
- Senreich, E. (2010b). Inviting the significant other of LGBT clients into substance abuse
treatment programs: Frequency and impact. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 32(4), 427-443.