How does society’s view on alcohol abuse, parenthood and gender affect the way therapists meet mothers?

We’ll go on a journey together – from the myth of Lilith, the demon, to women’s role in today’s society where alcohol abuse until recently was regarded as predominantly a male problem. We’ll travel through shame, guilt and sexuality from ancient Greece to the Nordic countries in 2019. What is the never-asked-for gender inheritance regarding motherhood and addiction? Who provides it? And how does that affect the way we as therapists meet mothers? Are we giving them what they say they need or are we unknowingly reproducing a structural shame; is the shadow of Lilith still following them? 

How do we as therapists involve children in non-mandatory family therapy at out-patient clinics for alcohol, substance or gambling problems?

We’ll continue our journey, following the previous path: Do children have to be present in our therapy room or can we reach them in other ways? When dealing with areas surrounded by shame and guilt, parents might think children are better off left out of therapy. What is our responsibility as therapists regarding ethics and law – is it even possible to be in therapy as a parent and not discuss parenthood or children’s viewpoint? 

The initial part of the presentation is based on the findings of a qualitative study  investigating how mothers with alcohol abuse experience therapy, and whether there were any themes in their experiences. Themes were then referenced to theory and research in order to identify whether they were relevant to treatment and therapy for mothers with alcohol problems. The study aimed to answer three questions; what was important in their therapy, how parenting was discussed, and how respondents perceive society’s view of mothers with alcohol problems. The study recruited individuals who had been in therapy for alcohol abuse at different out-patient clinics in Sweden.

Secondly, I will reference a report on therapy benefits from patients’ perspective attending an out-patient clinic. 786 individuals were interviewed after completing therapy. The clinic therapists were interviewed on what they perceive as meaningful in aiding patients with substance, alcohol and gambling problems. The report primarily aimed to answer: What is it that we do, that is helpful? 

The presentation will also allow you, through me, to hear patients’ voices. I will not only focus on what is beneficial from a therapist’s perception – we are all experts in this. For me, it is more fundamental to address patient’s voices, their feedback and perspective.