Curriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD > 5i. Counseling Strategies: Stigma
Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD
Counseling Strategies, Continued
Stigma is a major issue with FASD. There is a huge stigma around pregnant women
drinking, which can lead many to avoid talking about it. Despite the advent of the
disease model, many people still view alcohol problems as a sign of moral weakness
or a character flaw. The negative judgment toward the mother may be visited on the
child. A counselor needs to be aware of this stigma and approach the issue carefully
and sensitively if he or she suspects a client has an FASD.
Given their cognitive, social, and emotional deficits, persons with an FASD may
feel powerless to change and stuck with the stigma forever. It is important to work
through this issue with clients with an FASD. They need to understand that they
are not responsible for their disability and that they deserve respect. They also
need to know that change is possible.