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Skip Navigation LinksCurriculum for Addiction Professionals > Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD > 5i. Counseling Strategies: Stigma

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Competency 3: Treatment Strategies for Working with Clients with an FASD

Adults

Counseling Strategies, Continued

Stigma
Pregnant woman drinking a mixed drink

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.

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