Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
Parents experience social and emotional impacts when caring for a teen involved with alcohol and/or other drugs. Deterred by perceived stigma and shame, some parents may hesitate to reach out to formal support. When parents do access services, blame, exclusion, and expert-based directives constrain the parent voice and contribute to isolation and unmet needs. This study referenced social constructionist philosophy in order to provide an account of how historical and cultural contexts have influenced conventional adolescent substance use treatment. The researcher, Stephanie McCune, utilized an Interpretive Description methodology to illuminate dialogue generated within a unique collaborative therapy group called Recognizing Resilience. Parent’s accounts of the meaning of this dialogue in relation to their experiences of their teen’s substance use were also highlighted. McCune came to understand that the process of participating in collaborative group dialogue contributed to shared experiences of commonality and in turn re-authored accounts of initial problem-saturated stories about parenting a teen involved with substances. Parents identified they were able to release themselves from isolation and notions of singular cause, blame and fix, and develop a perceived freedom to experience multiplicity, possibility, acceptance and hopefulness. The research was able to demonstrate that adolescent substance use treatment systems can utilize collaborative therapy as a means to facilitate conditions and dialogical opportunities that promote the parent voice and foster transformative narratives.