Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)

First Advisor

Ram A. Cnaan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Peter W. Gariti, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William D. Dundon, Ph.D.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

INCORPORATING CLIENTS' UNDERLYING RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL BELIEFS IN THERAPY MAY IMPROVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PRACTICES, ESPECIALLY FOR PERSONS OF COLOR

Author: Marguerite E. Hendrickson

Dissertation Chair: Ram Cnaan, Ph.D.

Although pharmacological breakthroughs have improved treatment outcomes for

alcohol and opioid dependence through decreased cravings and blocked reward

effects, there are no FDA approved medications for the treatment of cocaine

dependence. In addition, many routinely practiced psychotherapy models for

addiction remain limited in their effects. As composite case studies will reveal,

cravings and urges to use cocaine prevent clients from obtaining and sustaining

abstinence. Multiple case studies will examine how clients use their underlying

religious and spiritual beliefs to cope with cravings and urges. The first paper in

this dissertation investigates how clients’ religious problem-solving styles can both

positively and negatively affect the recovery process when viewed through the lens

of a scientifically validated instrument, Religious Problem-Solving Scale. The

second paper examines how addressing religious/spiritual issues in therapy may

strengthen the therapeutic alliance with African Americans in outpatient treatment

for cocaine dependence. Given the research evidence that African Americans and

Hispanics actively engage their religious/spiritual beliefs during recovery, this multi-

paper dissertation suggests that clinicians adapt evidence-based therapies by

incorporating religious/spiritual content to meet the needs of the growing

population of color in the United States.