Proceedings of the 5th Annual Addictions Professional Conference (USA 2023)

Rommel Johnson


Black youth are more vulnerable to socioeconomic and psychosocial factors, which can lead to problematic substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs). Despite their need for treatment, it is well known that treatment for SUDs is oftentimes not readily available in Black communities. Furthermore, even when treatment is available, due to their mistrust of medical systems and lack of culturally appropriate services or providers that look like them, many Black Americans either do not utilize treatment, or do not complete treatment services. Therefore, counselors working with Black Americans and particularly Black youth need to ensure that they are being culturally relevant in their approaches to help them. Narrative approaches to counseling have been well established in the profession, but very little research has demonstrated its suitability with the Black experience in America. Specifically, storytelling has historical significance for Black culture, having been used historically as a form of shared and individual emotional healing. From the use of Negro Spirituals, folklores, and myths to cope with and challenge the forced narrative of slavery to the liberating orations of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the demands of the Black Lives Matter and “Me too” movements, storytelling in the Black community has served the purposes of healing and taking control of the narrative. This presentation discussed how counselors working with Black youth with problematic substance use or SUDs, can effectively use Narrative therapy to address their problematic substance use or SUDs.

Published on: February 27, 2024
doi: 10.17756/jas.2024-suppl1
Citation: Proceedings of the 5th Annual Addictions Professional Conference (USA 2023). J Addict Sci 10(Suppl 1): S1-S5.