Psychology of addiction- evaluating strengths and needs

Often when evaluating a client, the client’s problems are emphasized. It is important for the clinician to be aware of the client’s problems for the purpose of addressing these areas in treatment. However, it is also important to note the client’s strengths. Strengths can often be used to motivate the client and strengthen the treatment plan. Strengths in one area can be used to help meet needs in another area. For example, a client who excels in math and science and also has needs employment can put these two areas together. A fitting goal may be to return to school in an area of study that can capitalize on the math and science strengths. Bringing strengths and areas for improvement together in this way can assist in treatment planning. It can also give the client hope by capitalizing on areas in which they have already experienced success.


What are the strengths, resources, support systems and motivating factors of the client in the following scenario? Discuss the reasons, as indicated in your text, that it is important to identify these characteristics in a client and how they can be used to help the treatment process. Next, identify the factors that could hinder the process of achieving and maintaining sobriety for this client. Choose one of the factors and discuss how you would address it in the client’s treatment.


Carl has presented to your agency because he was ordered to complete a treatment program by the local drug court. Carl is a 34-year-old Caucasian male. He is employed with a local construction company where he has worked since he was 18, with the exception of a few seasonal lay-offs. He is divorced and has one four year old daughter. He has sole custody of his daughter. He seems frustrated at being ordered to complete treatment and his answers to all questions are somewhat brief and a bit curt until asked about his daughter. His facial features then noticeably soften and he smiles for the first time. He states that he has a four year old daughter named Alyssa and that she is “my baby girl.” You inquire further about Alyssa to establish rapport as this has been the first positive note in the conversation. In this process you learn that Alyssa’s mother left when Alyssa was just two weeks old and that Carl has raised her as a single father since that time.


Carl’s referral is based on a marijuana possession charge. He has had previous drug charges which have compounded the legal problems related to this charge. Carl states that the courts gave him probation initially because he was the sole provider for Alyssa but that he has now been referred to drug court due to having failed a urine analysis (UA) in which marijuana was found. He states that he has been smoking marijuana since age 14. He says it helps relieve back pain related to a construction injury. He also believes it helps him relax at night and reports that without it he feels anxious and agitated. He insists however that he will do whatever it takes to keep custody of “my baby girl” and that although he does not want to quit that he will do it to satisfy probation and the drug court.


Answer should be at least 300–350 words

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