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Biography

Julaine Allan is a substance abuse researcher and therapist with over twenty seven years experience in social work, family therapy, child protection and drug and alcohol services. Dr Allan’s research interests are grounded in a human rights approach to health and welfare interventions. She has over twenty publications in the field of healthcare, human rights, substance treatment and social inclusion. Dr Allan is a member of a diverse team evaluating CRAFT in Aboriginal communities. Team members include Aboriginal healthcare providers and community members, academic researchers and drug and alcohol counselors.

Abstract

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) an approach to substance treatment developed in the USA by Robert Meyers PhD, has garnered interest and advocates worldwide. This paper describes a research project evaluating the application of CRAFT in Australian Aboriginal communities. Australian Aboriginal communities are characterized by a long history of racism and dispossession that continues today. Impacts include a high incidence of substance abuse and related problems such as family violence, community dislocation and involvement in the criminal justice system. Substance counselors working in those communities face the additional challenge of needing to be accepted by the community before treatment can begin. In 2010 The Lyndon Community and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre began an evaluation of CRAFT in rural Aboriginal communities. Drug and Alcohol counselors had to learn CRAFT procedures and Aboriginal communities had to be engaged in the research and the approach. The way CRAFT was introduced to selected Aboriginal communities, the experiences of counselors in learning and applying CRAFT and the culturally specific factors counselors identified in the CRAFT methods are described.