Vanessa Jones is a 57-year-old African American woman from Atlanta, GA. She came to
the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) on September 2nd,2021 for treatment for her
stage 3 breast cancer. At her appointment her oncologist Dr. Johnson noticed something was off
with Ms. Jones. Dr. Johnson reached out to the behavioral health team for an assessment on the
patient. During the assessment Ms. Jones admitted to being a user of Crack-cocaine for over 25
years. Due to the fact that Ms. Jones uses narcotics her doctor has decided to stop treatment until
Ms. Jones is clean.
Growing up Vanessa was the youngest of 4 children. She grew up in Bowen Homes
Project and she attended Frederick Douglass High School in Atlanta. Ms. Jones had her First
child at the age of 15 years old. After high school Ms. Jones took a job working at a local
factory. Ms. Jones has 6 children with 4 different men. Ms. Jones States the first time she ever
used Crack-cocaine was when she was when she was 32 years old. She states that she was in an
abusive relationship with her boyfriend, and she started using to as she states to numb the pain
she was experiencing. Due to her drug use she ended losing custody of 5 of her 6 kids. The
oldest was 18 at the time so he didn’t have to go into care. She never married and is currently
single. She has a relationship with 4 of her kids. she currently lives in Riverdale, GA with one of
her sons. She is currently not employed and is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance
(SSDI). Since her diagnosis her son is her primary caretaker making sure she has a ride to her
appointments at CTCA.
Ms. Jones states that she attempted to get clean serval times in the last 10 years. She has
attended many different detox programs and will stay clean for a few weeks. The longest she has
been clean was 3 months. When asked what she thinks causes her to relapse she stated that she
goes back whenever she starts feeling stressed. When asked do she think she can stay clean long
enough so she could start back receiving treatment she stated that she could try but the Labor
Day weekend was coming up and that she also was getting her SSDI check. She said one of her
triggers was when she gets her checks and that she will spend majority of the check on drugs.
When asked if she think giving her check to a trusted person to hold on to the check for her. She
stated that she would rather not do that. It was suggested that she enters a detox program to get
clean to resume treatment.
Ms. Jones is open to get treatment for her addiction so she can begin her journey of
healing from cancer again. She states that she needs to clean for her children and grandchildren.
Her goal is sobriety and beating cancer.
Social workers are aided by social work theories when creating competent interventions
for their clients. Social workers who understand theories and interventions have the tools that are
required in the provision of evidence-based treatment to help their clients overcome their drug
addiction (Walsh, 2013).
Crisis Theory and Intervention
This theory is mainly used for clients experiencing crisis and trauma such as
violence and for clients who need intervention to prevent physical harm or suicide caused by
drug addiction. This theory is a short-term technique that minimizes potential permanent damage
in people affected by a crisis. This theory helps in preventing any psychological trauma and
restoring the mental health state following a crisis.
An individual who needs crisis intervention has usually exhausted the ability to
handle a situation. Crisis intervention is outlined to help drug addicts in realizing that the
position they might be going through is not permanent, and soon enough, they will return to their
normal state. This theory is designed to give drug addicts the tools that they need in coping with
their addiction and handling situations that might cause the crisis.
The elements of this theory include assessing the current situation of the drug-
addicted client. Here, the client is questioned about his or her problem by the counselor with the
aim of determining what the client needs to cope with the drug addiction (Neil, 2017). Next is
allowing the client to understand his or her situation and explaining that what the client is going
through is normal. The counselor will then develop an action plan for the client to deal with the
addiction. This involves coming up with a set of skills such as positive thinking that can be used
by the client currently and in the future. The counselor should offer support to the patient and
should not be judgmental. This is the most crucial part of this intervention. The client needs to
know that he or she is accepted regardless of the current situation. The intervention for Ms. Jones
case will be to have her meet with a therapist to develop a plan for working on positive skill
building and life skills. She would need to meet with the therapist once a week to work on those
skills and to take progress.
Solution-focused Theory and Intervention
This theory is a short-term practice model that involves a social worker and client
coming together and identifying an issue and developing a solution that is based on the strengths
of the client. This will give the client the opportunity to be present and have a role in the positive
changes. This theory is great for a drug-addicted client because it aims at changing the actions of
a client to achieve favorable outcomes rather than changing who the client is (Thomas, 2018). If
this theory is used properly, it can lead to significant improvements in the lives of addicts, such
as resuming a healthy and fulling life.
Solution-focused therapy is effective in the treatment of drug addiction because it
targets the underlying cause of addiction while attempting to get rid of substance abuse. When
handling a client, a counselor will first try and create a shift in the self-image of the client. This
can be achieved by learning new behaviors which will replace drug abuse. Next, the counselor
will develop a plan for change which will involve both the client and the counselor working
together. Included in the plan will be the needs of the client, such as developing new healthier
behaviors, which will include exercise and dieting as well as other personal activities.
By developing these healthier habits and behaviors, the client will face the issue of
drug addiction with more confidence as well as aiding the client in meeting his or her goal of
being sober. The client will also be motivated and encouraged to continue reducing his or her
drug addiction. A client will achieve being sober though a combination of motivation and
encouragement as well as rewards.
Due to the urgency of Ms. Jones case and that she needs to start her cancer treatment as
soon as possible it was recommended that she start a detox program. Once she completes her
detox program she may resume her cancer treatment.
Behavior Theory and Intervention
Behavior theory focuses on changing the behavior of a client concerning substance
abuse. This is done by teaching the clients life skills that will aid them in coping with situations
that are likely to lead to substance abuse also as well as relapse. Behavior theory has shown
significant effectiveness in treating substance abuse in addicts, but the therapy is better suited for
a particular drug (Handwerk & Manack, 2020).
This theory is efficient because it aids in engaging drug addicts in drug abuse
treatment, offering them with incentives if they remain abstinent, changing their behavior,
attitude, and habits in relation to drug abuse, as well as increasing their life skills to help them
handle environmental cues and stressful situations that may trigger the craving for drugs and lead
to another cycle of abuse.
The elements in this theory include the client learning how to identify as well as
rectify problematic behaviors. This is done by the application of different skills that can be used
in stopping drug addiction. A central element of this model is the enhancement of the self-control
of patients as well as the anticipation of problems that are bound to happen by helping the drug-
addicted clients to develop coping strategies that are effective and efficient. Some techniques
include looking into the negative and positive consequences of continued substance abuse, self-
monitoring which will allow a client to identify cravings early as well as what environment
triggers the cravings that put the client at risk of use and develop a plan for avoiding those
environments and cravings that put the client at risk of use. The skills that individuals battling
drug addiction learn through this model will remain with the client even after completion of the
The ethical issues of Ms. Jones case are self-determination versus do no harm. When
working with a client as a social worker self-determination should always be used. Self-
determination can be defined as an ethical principle in social work that recognizes the right and
needs of the clients to be free to make their own decisions. At CTCA patients are allowed to
make their decisions when it come to their treatment plan. In Ms. Jones case its different because
her drug addiction it a major problem. Her cancer care team is concerned that the cocaine could
affect her chemotherapy medication, they are not sure how they would mix, and it could be fatal.
Even if Ms. Jones wanted to take the risk of continuing care while actively using, that could
cause serious problem for the hospital ethically. As social workers in our codes of ethics it states
that we should “do no harm”. Whenever working with a client, we should never suggest or
recommend anything that could cause harm to a person. In Ms. Jones case the hospital decided to
do no harm and decided to pause her treatment until she has detoxed.
Whenever a patient meets with a social worker at CTCA its always a strengths-based
conversation. When the was presented with Ms. Jones case solution focused theory was instantly
applied. We assessed her strengths and applied to her treatment. One of her strengths is that she
wanted to get clean for her family. She knew that if she wanted to be around for her family, she
needs to get clean so she can resume her treatment and beat the cancer. The team was able to find
a treatment facility and was able to get Ms. Jones to enrolled in the program. If Ms. Jones is able
to complete the program, she can start back her treatment immediately.
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