By On March 12th, 2016

Faith-based Approach to Substance Abuse Counseling


There is a growing interest in faith-based approaches to the treatment of substance abuse, and their implications for health and well-being (Fetzer Institute, 1999).

Castelli (1997) defines faith-based organizations to include congregations as well as national networks such as Catholic Charities or the YMCA. This follows from the fact that many programs, although not associated with any organized religion, may endorse 12-step conceptions of spirituality and the existence of a higher power.   Although they may not constitute a religion per se, 12-step programs do promote practices such as prayer, meditation, confession, and penance (White, 1998)

The line between secular and faith-based programs becomes further blurred in that recovery programs endorsing a 12-step philosophy typically emphasize spiritual transformation to the critical aspect towards recovery (Albers, 1997; Alcoholics Anonymous [AA], 1995). Usually the faith-based approach instituted in a church setting is often led by someone who has been through the healing process and can incorporate faith into the 12 step process. It may not be led by someone who is academically trained in the professional counseling field.

White (1998) has extensively detailed the importance of rituals in 12-step culture such as prayer/meditation, testifying or witnessing regarding faith (or recovery), and testimonials regarding individual salvation (or recovery).

What is unique about the faith-based approach toward healing in substance abuse recovery is that there is a certain bond and a new social network formed. When we include a faith-based approach from a professional aspect, there is a higher rate of a success.

Pastors, Brookhaven Hospital’s Renewal Christian Care program is here to serve you, to help you and your members recognize substance abuse symptoms that may need treatment.¬† Please call us today, 888.298.HOPE (4673)!

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