The role of gender in substance abuse treatment will be the subject of a presentation by CLARE Foundation representatives at the 49th Annual Conference of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists May 16-19.
The CLARE Foundation of Santa Monica and Conscious Recovery by CLARE, an outpatient treatment initiative launching in fall 2013, will offer
a one-hour workshop entitled “Mars & Venus in Addiction: The Dangers of Ignoring Gender Differences in Substance Abuse Treatment.” The presentation will be led by CLARE’s Director of Clinical Services Matthew Healy, and Conscious Recovery by CLARE’s Program Director Jennifer Musselman.
The presentation will provide research findings from a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services-funded program evaluation that CLARE Foundation conducted in partnership with UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs.
This study, along with other contemporary research, indicates that although women in recovery report increased levels of satisfaction across several individual domains (including psychological, physical, and emotional wellbeing), they cumulatively report less satisfaction post-treatment. The same findings did not hold true for male participants.
“You don’t have to suffer from a drug or alcohol problem to feel confused about your role and purpose as a man or woman at home and in society today,” said Musselman. “Many men and women feel like they are failing at these roles. But combine early childhood trauma, confusing gender role expectations, and the disease of substance abuse, and both men and women can amass enormous fiscal, psychological, emotional, and social damage – but at different costs.”
Healy and Musselman plan to use the research as a basis for training healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists, about gender-specific approaches that can be effective for substance abuse treatment.
The CLARE presenters will also offer techniques for improving outcomes in circumstances in which gender-specific treatment is not available, as well as training for clinicians who are seeking to help clients in recovery.