The Complexities of Therapeutic Intervention with Parents who are Substance Dependent

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Date(s) - June 16
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Dates, Times, and Topics:
Friday June 16th, 2017  from 9am- 4pm

Parents with Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) often have histories of multiple trauma exposures, elevated levels of psychological distress (Suchman, et al., 2005) and decreased capacities to understand and reflect upon their children’s development and emotional experience (RF, reflective functioning) (Levy, Truman, & Mayes, 2001). Their children may also experience increased trauma exposure and impaired cognitive, social and emotional development. All of these factors can contribute to dysfunction in parent-child interactions, attachment insecurities and potential child maltreatment. Historically, programs intended to support parents in recovery have been centered on didactic parental education, yet the efficacy of these interventions has been mixed. In part because this is the case because they do not take into account the extensive parental trauma histories and neurobiological changes, necessitating a shift to parent-child relationship focused interventions grounded in attachment theory.

In this workshop, the presenter will first describe current research relevant to parenting in the context of traumatic stress and substance misuse. Second, a critique of some common approaches to programs for substance misusing parents will be offered. Third, a rationale will be offered for a dyadic intervention with these parents and their young children which takes into account attachment and focuses on reflective functioning and emotion regulation. Finally, the intervention, which strives to promote developmental progress and resilience, while supporting recovery from substance misuse will be described along with evaluation findings.

About the Instructor

Ruth Paris, Ph.D., LICSW, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Practice at Boston University School of Social Work where she serves as the director of the Mildred Flashman Family Therapy Certificate Program. Her research and scholarship focus on attachment- based interventions for vulnerable families, with a specific emphasis on families with very young children. Through a series of multi-year research projects, Dr. Paris has evaluated and developed family-based interventions serving various populations including: traumatized mothers in treatment for substance dependence and their young children; immigrant/refugee mothers and children with trauma histories; women with postpartum depression and their infants; and post-deployment military families. She has taught clinical social work practice classes at Boston University as well as Smith College. These include, Introduction to Clinical Practice and Family Therapy, in addition to Clinical Research Methods for doctoral students among others. Over the past 15 years she has given more than 100 presentations at conferences such as the Society for Social Work and Research, the Society for Research on Child Development, the National Training Institute of Zero to Three, and the All National Conference of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Dr. Paris has published numerous articles and book chapters, most of which focus on interventions for vulnerable families.

Adelphi University, Garden City NY (Alumni House)


Early registration (on or before May 19,  2017): $105
Regular registration (after May 19,  2017): $115
Adelphi Full-Time Student:  $65.00
Adelphi Full-Time Faculty:  $90.00

This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:

  • Social work (6 hours)
  • CASAC renewal (6 hours approval pending)
  • Education (6 hours)
  • Psychology (6 hours)
  • NBCC (6 hours)

Register Today

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