2014 Archives

Director of National Drug Policy Botticelli visits SMU counseling program at Resource Center

Excerpt

The following is from the June 27, 2014, edition of The Dallas Voice.

June 30, 2014

By DAVID TAFFET
Staff Writer

Resource Center got a high-profile visitor this week when the White House’s Director of National Drug Policy Michael Botticelli dropped in for a tour of the facilities. Botticelli, who is gay and in addiction recovery, visited the center after contacting Southern Methodist University officials about the school’s partnership with the Resource Center in offering what he called a unique a counseling program for LGBT people.

Botticelli visited Resource Center on June 23 and, later in the afternoon, spoke to students in SMU’s counseling program. After touring Resource Center, he said the work with SMU was a “nice partnership” and something he has rarely seen around the country.

Botticelli said his interest is related to the process of moving the Obama White House’s drug policy from a punitive criminal justice solution to putting people in treatment. Since addiction rates in the LGBT community are higher than the population in general, he said he likes SMU’s focus on delivering culturally competent therapy.

Botticelli said he is impressed by the LGBT track taught at SMU complimenting the addiction and recovery counseling offered in the program. Sabine Rakos directs the partnership program that places SMU counseling students as interns at Resource Center.

Rakos said most schools offer therapists a course in multi-cultural counseling. That might include one chapter and a single lecture on counseling LGBT clients. She said that leaves most students confused about the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation.

At SMU, students in the LGBT track take three courses: affirmative therapy with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients, affirmative therapy with transgender clients and affirmative therapy with LGBT families and couples.

Rakos said the courses address specific problems facing the LGBT community, including substance abuse, major depression and anxiety disorders. Her program helps counselors understand what they’re seeing in the field, she said.

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