Challenges in Engaging Parents in the Drug and Alcohol Treatment: The Professionals’ Perspective

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Addiction treatment centers often fail to involve families in treatment. The aim of the present study was to explore the challenges that Greek mental health professionals encounter in their work with parents of drug and alcohol abusers. A qualitative study design was adopted, and five focus group discussions were conducted with 27 drug and alcohol professionals. The thematic analysis of their accounts revealed the key difficulties that professionals encounter in their collaboration with parents that included parental lack of involvement or over-engagement in treatment, unrealistic expectations, ambivalence or opposition to change, ethical dilemmas, and alliance issues, as well as collaboration challenges among therapists. Findings highlight the challenges of a family approach in the treatment of addiction, and underscore the value of clinical supervision in addition to specialized training, to help professionals work on their anxiety, anger, guilt, prejudices, and deception, when engaging parents in the treatment of their addicted child.

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