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    Legal and Ethical - Serving Native American Substance Abusers

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    Case Study--

    Beth M., an American-Indian woman, comes to the substance abuse treatment center complaining that drinking too much causes problems for her. She has tried to stop drinking before but always relapses. The counselor finds that she is not sleeping, has been eating poorly, and has been calling in sick to work. She spends much of the day crying and thinking of how alcohol, which has cost her her latest significant relationship, has ruined her life. She also has been taking painkillers for a recurring back problem, which has added to her problems. The counselor tells her about a group therapy opportunity at the center that seems right for her, tells her how to register, and makes arrangements for some individual counseling to set her on the right path. The counselor tells her she has done the right thing by coming in for help and gives her encouragement about her ability to stop drinking. Beth M. does not arrive for her next appointment, and when the counselor calls home, he learns from her roommate that Beth made an attempt on her life after leaving the substance abuse treatment center. She took an overdose of opioids (painkillers) and is recovering in the hospital. The emergency room staff found that Beth M. was under the influence of alcohol when she took the opioids. Counselors always should ask if the client has been thinking of suicide, whether or not the client mentions depression.

    Please list the ethical implications of this case study in regards to group counseling.

    Please list the legal implications of this case study in regards to group counseling.

    Please list the socio-culture practice suggestions for this case study.

    Please provide 2 references (no later than 10 years) for each question so I can write a paper on this case study with the help that you have given regarding my questions. Please keep in mind I may not have access to the websites you have in order to view the journals, etc.

    Thank you.

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    https://brainmass.com/psychology/psychopharmacology/606301

    Solution Preview

    Regarding legal issues related to referring Beth to group counseling, Beth was under-diagnosed. Group counseling, in this scenario, is not an appropriate treatment for someone who may be a candidate for detox. Beth needs to be referred to a physician to have her physical needs assessed. The competence of the person doing the assessment is an important issue. One legal question would be, "Is the person doing the assessment working within the scope of practice allowed by their credential? It is illegal to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders without a license. Substance abuse counselors can be certified but not licensed. A certified substance abuse counselor can work beyond the scope of practice defined by their certification if they are supervised by someone who is licensed. If the person who is registered as a supervisor is not actually doing supervision, the supervisor could face litigation. Malpractice is another legal issue. If a person is licensed, they are bound by a duty to "do no harm." Missing numerous markers of high ...

    Solution Summary

    Screening and selection of therapy group participants is essential in conducting effective, ethical groups. A service provider who fails to do an accurate assessment can be in legal and ethical violation no matter who the client is. Native American substance abusers present very specific challenges due to their communication style, history of cultural oppression, and worldview. To provide adequate services, referrals must be made to the appropriate level of care and incorporate culturally congruent interventions and resources.

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