Overcoming the problem of substance misuse: adolescent experience in a narrative re-authoring program

Stephanie Saville
Current bodies of knowledge in the field of counselling people struggling with substance misuse problems are dominated by the biomedical model and the disease metaphor. This perspective locates the etiology of substance misuse within the person's biochemistry, in contrast to a narrative perspective proposing that problems with substance use be viewed within a political and sociocultural context. The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of young persons who participated in a
more » ... icipated in a non-traditional residential program for substance misuse problems based on a narrative re-authoring approach, and have successfully overcome their problems with substance misuse. A descriptive exploratory case study design was employed to identify commonalities in the experiences of three adolescent co-researchers. Unstructured in-depth interviews were conducted to elicit their experiences. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed and fashioned into narrative accounts which were then analyzed for thematic commonalities. The study lent support for a re-authoring therapeutic approach to assist persons struggling with the effects of substance misuse problems. The results suggest the importance of encouraging dissident discourses and divergent perspectives in the drug and alcohol field. The study also provides documentation of the solution knowledges and wisdom of young persons which can inform practice and further research, serve as a worthy criticism of current dominant discourses, and enrich their own experiences of personal authorship of their victory stories over substances. This study can be of benefit to drug and alcohol counsellors in encouraging a more deconstructive approach to dominant therapeutic discourses, and in drawing awareness to key program components as they were experienced by successful participants.
doi:10.14288/1.0053953 fatcat:subfgn7h3jbfdnrikevl3trki4