Essay on Cultural Elements to Consider in the Intervention

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University of Richmond
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According to Azmita (2011) family plays a very important role in promoting, reinforcing or causing drug addiction among the youths. It is therefore important to develop evidence-based interventions that target parents and the entire family unit. This is because interventions that involve the entire family complement the intervention carried out on alcoholic youths. Knowledge of the culture and its sensitivity determines the extent of a familys divergence, structure, function ability, appropriate therapeutic goals, and the power figures in the family. Other cultural factors to consider include the race as it affects the response the young adolescent will have on the intervention program. Cultural characteristics should also be considered in the intervention because they help in shaping the tone, source, content, and style of the intended activities for the intervention. However, cultural competence does not mean that the social worker ought to be from the same cultural background as that of the family (Tiagi et al., 2011). A sensitive and qualified therapist learns from the client, senses the cultural nuances and pays attention. In the intervention program, the role of the social worker ought to be clearly discussed. This should be done in relation to the trust being developed with the individual client and the family members.

Theoretical Frameworks

The recovery of the young adolescent may be multifaceted and complex because of her family background. There is the history of alcoholism in the family as the clients mother is recovering from alcoholism. There are several useful frameworks that could be used in this case, but one useful framework that could work involves the stages of change which can be applied to the young adolescent and the whole family. These five stages of change can be used in the intervention program. These stages include pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. From the case study, the young adolescent will be allowed to regress and progress within these stages of change. Even though these stages of change can be applied to the young adolescent and her family, it should be noted that members might not be at the same stage and different intervals (Cabrera, Fitzgerald & Villarruel, 2011)

. It is therefore important for the social worker to address where each individual member of the family is, as this will play an important role in the treatment and assessment decisions.

Necessary Steps and Possible Time Frames

To achieve the phases of intervention listed above in the theoretical frameworks, the following steps, and their possible timeframes will be adopted for this intervention.

Stage 1: Positive Screening

To begin with, the first step is for the positive screening of the adolescent youth so that the social worker can identify the suggestive symptoms that the client portrays.

Stage 2: Brief Assessment

This stage includes a brief assessment of the alcoholic behavior of the adolescent child. This entails confirmation and clarification of the quantity, duration, and frequency of alcohol use pattern. This stage also involves determining the severity or the number of alcohol-related social and health problems in the last twelve months. This also means that the social worker will review medical conditions and medications status of the patient.

Stage 3: Brief Intervention

This step is mostly for those people who have been suspected of alcohol dependence or those that that are in need of medical attention. In this case study, the client will be required to go through this stage because they already suspect they are sick and because of the continued abuse of alcohol. When the brief intervention is unsuccessful, then the social worker can consider specialized treatment. When the patient refuses to get the treatment, then the family may be involved at this stage for intervention. For a successful brief intervention, the social worker may need to repeat the intervention as the needs change.

Stage 4: Follow up

Continued follow up is very important when treating a teenager who has been abusing alcohol or any other substance. This follows up is done so that the patient does not relapse. For continued follow up, the social worker can go back to the brief intervention stage, as this can be done as needs change (Diaz & Zambrana, 2011). Continued follow up also requires the guidance of a professional especially for those clients that require specialized treatment.

SBIRT Experience

From the case above, it is evident that social workers always have a great experience when treating patients with the problem of alcohol abuse. From the case study, it shows that the workers are always on the front line when interacting with persons with alcohol abuse disorder. Unfortunately, from this experience, social workers sometimes feel untrained or under-prepared to prepare intervention programs where substance abuse is present.


The SBRIT screening model for substance abuse has several advantages. From the discussion above, it is clear that the screening is able to match the patient with the appropriate amount and type of intervention required, which helps in avoiding over or under treatment. SBRIT also offers the social workers with a framework for how the evidence-based community interventions can interface with alcohol treatment programs. Since SBRIT has been approved by Centers for Medicare, social workers who are involved in this screening program can thus be reimbursed for their services (Babor et al., 2007).


Azmita, M. (2011). Families, peers, and Mexican heritage adolescents' negotiation of school transitions. Chapter 9 (Pages 217-242)

Babor, T. F., McRee, B. G., Kassebaum, P. A., Grimaldi, P. L., Ahmed, K., & Bray, J. (2007). Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) toward a public health approach to the management of substance abuse. Substance abuse, 28(3), 7-30.

Cabrera, N. J., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Villarruel, F. (2011). Latina and Latino children's mental health. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger/ABC-CLIO.

Diaz, Y., & Zambrana, R. E. (2011). Understanding contextual influences on parenting and child behavior in the assessment and treatment of ADHD in Latino children. Chapter 4 (Pages 83-108)

Tiago Antonio, T., Johnson, S., Borden, L. M., & Villarruel, F.A. (2011). Can anyone see our shadows? Mental health and related social issues for Latino youth. Chapter 1 (Pages 1-34)

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