Assessing the outcomes of a treatment is essential to develop a better understanding of psychological treatment options for substance abuse. Therapists need to create a welcoming and supportive environment, however, before changing methods, they need to obtain proof that the participants are ready to communicate and cooperate. In the below literature review and SSRS outline study I am going to provide a scope for future research and evaluation structures.

Do Counselor Spiritual Attitudes Effect Substance Abuse Treatment Outcome?

The selected treatment I am going to examine is the one used by  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Galanter et al. (2006) developed a 6-step self-rating scale, and this will form the base of my research. The scale does not only determine the measures, but it also provides us with a global measure of life and spiritual orientation. Deady (2009) also uses a global assessment, and emphasized the importance of social and emotional well-being, being used as an empowerment tool and recovery instrument.

Without successfully assessing the healing process step-by-step (STORI) using the methods described by Andersen (Andresen, Caputi, & Oades, 2006)  and outcomes, it is impossible to measure the different outcomes based on the substance the patient used, the length of abuse and attitudes. It is evident from studies reviewed below that patients who had a higher rating on the 6-item scale were two times more likely to recover and stay abstinent for five years. (Avants et al.) The details of the survey and studies are found in the literature review below.


When planning the research I will attempt to determine the validity of the hypothesis that spirituality and counselor attitude has a positive effect on the speed and quality of healing. As I am intending to use widely known and accessible research models, the data gained during the research will be easily comparable with previous studies, concluded in traditional substance abuse clinics and rehabilitation centers.


 A recent study concluded by the Department of Human Services shows the performance measures for treating substance abuse patients. (AMH 2007) It is a good example of measuring performance across different states and institutions. The social aspects are measured in the study, and it also provides us data with the outcomes of treatments between 2000 and 2005. To create a similar framework, we need to also analyze studies created by Galanter. (Galanter et al. 2007)

 In their special article, Galanter et al. (2007) looks at the treatments from a different perspective, and tries to capture the links between the involvement level in spirituality and recovery rate. Using a Spirituality Self-rating Scale (SSRS), and they also find that more attention should be paid to the role of spirituality regarding addiction recovery. (Galanter et al. 2007. pp. 257) The study shows a higher self rating among DD patients, TC patients and Methadone patients than students. Galanter combined all users into one group to compare their views about spirituality with students and faculty members. Students were asked to provide their own views as well as attempt to reflect on patients’ attitudes to spirituality. The data collected by Galanter will provide us with enough resources to create a relevant hypothesis.

Reviewing the Faith Matters study created by Wallace ( M et al. In 2010), published in Canada, it is evident that there is a difference between instruments used in the spiritual mental healing process of substance abuse patients. The authors review some of the most promising programs currently used, including the Victory Fellowship and Victory Home. The ministry solely works with patients suffering from long term substance abuse problems. The program owners, a couple called Garcia created a 90-day plan and they have over 65 fellowships around North, Central and South America. The program does not only provide spiritual guidance for participants, but also offers free advice and help on housing and education.

 Among all the practices reviewed in the study, I will choose to test my hypothesis based on one particular group and spiritual healing community. There are many charismatic groups I could contact to obtain information about the methods, instruments and techniques used, as well as statistical results. The below programs identified by the Faith Matters study are:

- Celebrate Recovery in California, using eight principles (Beatitudes) instead of the traditional 12-step program.

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- Faith Partners in Texas uses a seven step system to establish a team and build a supportive community sharing beliefs and the faith.


 My intention is to use a procedure Descriptive Statistics model by using SPSS. The associates of the above detailed two organizations will be approached to seek cooperation. I am going to seek consent from patients to take part in the project, and based on the research framework concluded by Galanter, I will identify the current, method-specific measures of the different spiritual healing programs.

The sample size will be 20 patients from each organization, out of which I am looking to get data from at least five people from each sample to be fully abstinent for at least a year. This will allow us to not only measure the spiritual involvement and motivations (Galanter et al. 2007) but also the results of the treatment. I am also looking to evaluate the methods used  in the two centers, interviewing two of the therapists from each, to be able to create measurements for comparison.

Participants will be measured by spiritual involvement level, length of substance abuse, gender and program. Taking samples from both groups will allow us to compare the results and efficiency of the two programs and determine the right approach to spiritual healing.

The data will be collected by appointed coordinators at the organizations, preferably counselors or pastors of both congregations. The data will be collected preserving confidentiality and no names will be required to be provided. I will also set up a personal consultation with the coordinators of both congregation leaders to provide them with an outline of the purpose and outcome of the study.


When setting up measures, it is important to refer back to the Maudsley Addiction Profile (MAP) measurement method, created by Mandersen ((Marsden et al., 1998) to identify the outcomes. This outcome measurement method can be easily used together with self-report methods or interviews as well. It is important to provide support for substance abuse patients with low qualification and/or reading and writing skills.

 The reliability of the data will be checked through a Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) prior to being selected for the survey. The pastors and support workers will check the validity of data, and patients who do not fit the initial screening group requirements will be excluded from the study. Data will be validated manually and placed into charts and tables to provide an easy overview and comparison opportunity.


The above research provides me with numerous opportunities to assess outcomes of spiritual healing methods. Data will be collected and analyzed to create quantitative measurement. There are many framework models I can use as a sample, and I have selected the following measures to quantify and analyze:

- the connection between the spiritual involvement and progress of healing process. The latter will be assessed using the Camberwell Assessment of Need (CAN) which is widely used and approved in Australia. This model will allow us to compare outcomes of the two patient groups. Self-report will be used for sample.

- I am also intending to use the Maudsley Addiction Profile (MAP)  to assess and measure outcomes. This is again an Australian appraisal model, which has a high reliability rate and it is one of the most complex assessments available for various cultural groups.


The expected result of the study is to determine the validity of the hypothesis. I will attempt to exploit the differences between the two models used by the spiritual centers to reason the difference (if any) in the survey outcomes. It is important to differentiate between groups and try to create homogenous samples. For instance, data will not be comparable if we take 20 female patients from a safe family as a sample group from Celebrate Recovery and 20 male teenagers who have been living on the street since they were 10 year old. 


The limitations of the study can be identified by the fact that the demographics and location of the two groups will be different. Although we conclude the survey in the same country, there might be some social aspects that will influence healing, approach and attitude. Corrections might be needed, if we identify this influence to create a data manipulation of more than 2 percent and proof can be obtained.

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