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Being in Treatment Is What Counts

May 1, 2007
by root
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I was pleasantly surprised to read the article “Some old with the new” (December 2006 issue). It was nice finally to read a balanced piece that discussed the reality that eclectic treatments for addiction often co-exist alongside the more traditional 12-Step model approaches, rather than supplant them.

It also was encouraging to read your insightful posit that the 12-Step modality has indeed been receiving positive feedback in the evidence-based practice arena. I have been conducting some meta-analysis of the state of affairs regarding 12-Step evaluation research appearing in peer-reviewed publications. While the number of articles about the 12-Step treatment approach continues to be low (especially regarding treatment for women), evidence seems to indicate that some of the ancillary benefits of 12-Step attendance (i.e., mentoring, group support, reinforcement) continue to have lasting and genuinely positive and measurable outcomes for clients who participate.

My own professional role and background has lent itself to a pragmatic approach to the problem of addiction. I currently work as a program coordinator with a team of forensic social workers at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. The unit I work in (the Multi-Agency Response Team) conducts high-profile child abuse investigations. Generally, clients come from any and all walks of life, and the best approach seems to be whatever works at the time for the client. We essentially just try to “get them in treatment, period.” The consequences for the client's entire family are dire if the client relapses while a dependency case is in progress.

Stan Smith, MSW, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services