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Monday, November 28, 2011

Neuroscience exposure and perceptions of client responsibility among addictions counselors

Members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (n = 231) participated in a survey concerning their view of the role of personal responsibility in addictions treatment and its relation to their exposure to neuroscience (i.e., the amount to which members considered themselves familiar with current neuroscience research).

We used the two-dimensional model of responsibility (Responsible/not responsible for development × Responsible/not responsible for recovery) proposed by P. Brickman et al. (1982) to guide our assessment of responsibility, thus inquiring about counselors' views of clients' responsibility for both the development of a substance-related addiction and its resolution.

Findings suggest that counselors rate biological factors as most influential in the development of an addiction and assign clients less personal responsibility for the development of an addiction than for recovery from an addiction.

Counselors' level of neuroscience exposure was negatively correlated with their ratings of client responsibility for the development of an addiction but positively correlated to ratings of client responsibility for recovery.

This suggests that counselors are integrating neuroscientific findings with what is learned from other modes of enquiry in a way that diminishes the view that clients are responsible for addiction development but accentuates the view that clients are responsible for recovery.

We explore reasons for why this is and why this approach may be beneficial.

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