The Case For Gender-Specific Substance Abuse And Trauma Treatment

At The Fullbrook Center, we envision creating an environment where women support women in their recovery journeys. We want to transform mindsets and break stereotypes that support the stigma that women cannot get along and work together much less empower each other. As women, we are each other’s best resource. Our mission is modeled by our staff members, taught to our clients, and is implemented in our treatment.

Gender specific substance abuse treatment is rooted in the foundation of The Fullbrook Center. Our founders and administrators noticed that when treatment is co-ed, clients often focus on each other versus their recovery. Being in treatment with someone of the opposite sex is not only distracting, it also creates hesitation and frequently prevents clients from being vulnerable. Learning to connect with other human beings in the treatment process is important to recovery, and that is more difficult to do when members of the opposite sex are present. Some clients have experienced trauma connected to males, and their healing process would be interrupted in a co-ed environment. An all-female atmosphere fosters safety and promotes vulnerability.

The Fullbrook Center’s residential substance abuse and trauma treatment incorporates a 12- step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. This program includes meetings, working the steps, and finding a sponsor. In the program, women work with women; that is, sponsor are the same sex. We encourage our clients to practice cultivating relationships with women during their time here. We believe this increases the chances of success while implementing their continuum of care plan, which takes place once the program at Fullbrook is completed.

A Cycle of Women Empowering Women

After treatment, staff members reach out to alumni (clients who have completed the Fullbrook program) to check in and ensure they are fully supported outside of the treatment center. During check in, alumni also become a resource to clients in recovery. Some alumni return to the facility to host groups, offer experience and support clients during the treatment process, while others offer their contact information for distribution if a client from their area needs support when transitioning to aftercare. Having someone aside from staff members to vent and confide in, has helped clients trust and feel heard. It is a true representation of women helping women heal.

Breaking Stereotypes From the Top Down

The stereotype of women not being able to empower each other is being broken even through staff members. Working in an all-female team presents a different set of challenges, talents, and is a whole different ball game. But we stand united and make all decisions together to show clients that we support one another. We want to demonstrate that women can support women from the top down. We proudly model the behavior that is expected of clients.

We take the stigma of women not getting along with other women to the heart. As a woman, it is saddening and disheartening that women feel that they cannot support or love each other. We are committed to building a community of strong, empowering women that will not buy into the stereotype.