Experiences Associated with Intervening with Homeless, Substance-abusing Mothers: The Importance of Success

This article documents the experiences of providing housing and supportive services, or ecologically based treatment, to shelter-recruited, substance-abusing homeless women with young children in their care. Among clients, observed experiences related to housing, substance abuse, and health and mental health care are discussed. Among therapists, experiences related to managing the chaotic nature of the client's lives, wanting to manage the client's lives, and frustration with client's life trajectories are reviewed. Observations related to the therapeutic process include the client's relationship to the therapist, balancing the client's independence and need for assistance, and unrealistic expectations among the clients. Recommendations for successfully approaching these clinical situations and experiences are offered. The purpose of this article is to document these therapy experiences to facilitate the work of future teams seeking to intervene in the lives of homeless families through homeless shelters or other settings.

Publication Date: 
In press
Journal Name: 
Social Work