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Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Pregnant and postpartum or perinatal women who experience Substance Use Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (SUD/PTSD) co-occurring are an underserved population and a gap can be observed in the research in terms of clinical presentation and treatment of SUD/PTSD among this population. Social work practitioners are at an increased probability of working with individuals who would identify as such. There are many psychosocial and health factors associated with untreated SUD/PTSD among perinatal women for both mother and baby.

Research suggests that the use of client centered approaches and narrative therapy is beneficial in working with those who experience PTSD. The use of narrative therapy, as a standard treatment, has the potential to promote healing and recovery among perinatal women experiencing SUD/PTSD. Social workers have the ability to not only identify perinatal women experiencing SUD/PTSD, but have the clinical ability to provide narrative therapy to this special population. This capstone aims to review current literature on perinatal women experiencing SUD/PTSD, conceptualize the use of client centered and narrative theory with this population, and discuss the applicability of narrative therapy techniques with this population. Portions of this capstone discuss rurality and perinatal women located in the Appalachian region, which is historically underserved.

KEYWORDS: Pregnant and postpartum women, substance use disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, narrative theory, client centered theory, social work

Available for download on Thursday, May 02, 2024

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