Publication Details

Kelly, P, Working with substance misuse problems in private practice, InPsych, 30(5), 2008, 14-15.


Individuals experiencing alcohol and other drug (AOD) problems have typically been under represented within private practice. For example, in the general population the prevalence of substance use disorders (7.7%) is comparable to that of anxiety (9.7%) and affective disorders (5.8%; Andrews, Hall, Teesson & Henderson, 1999). However, a recent APS survey showed that while 48 per cent of people treated by psychologists under the Better Access initiative presented with anxiety or depression, only 6 per cent presented for assistance with substance misuse problems (Giese, Littlefield & Mathews, 2008). Recent changes to the Medicare system have largely reduced financial barriers, presenting an opportunity for private practitioners to play a more active role in AOD treatment. This has the advantage of expanding the range of substance misuse services and increasing client choice. With psychologists commonly reporting reluctance to work with substance misuse problems (Miller & Brown, 1997), this article provides a description of the role that private practitioners can play in addiction treatment.