VISTAS Counseling Families and Adults

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Addressing Intrapersonal Characteristics and Interpersonal Relationships of Children of Alcoholics

Valerie McGaha-Garnett, Melanie Anderegg, Melissa Baldwin, Dawn Dipley, Robin Hudson, Debbie Scott, and Laurel Stouffer


Alcohol abuse is a worldwide issue that affects the family and community environment by greatly hindering the productivity and lifestyle of society members. Alcohol abuse not only affects those who misuse, abuse, and are dependent on alcohol and other drugs, but also impacts family dynamics (Room, Babor, & Rehm, 2005; Harpin, 2005). Mental health professionals have focused on the harmful effects of parental alcoholism over the past decades. Children in dysfunctional homes oftentimes have unnoticeable symptoms (Lambie & Sias, 2005). Many children raised with parental alcoholism are at a greater likelihood of experiencing physical, social, and academic problems (Chalder, Elgar, & Bennett, 2006; Heitzeg, Nigg, Yau, Zubieta, & Zucker, 2008). Without appropriate and effective prevention strategies, individuals have a greater risk of experiencing sexual promiscuity (Anda, 2006), depression, anxiety, and phobias (Diaz et al., 2008). Researchers and many survivors of familial alcoholism identify their experiences through various phrases and acronyms such as child/ren of alcoholics (COA or COAs) and adult child/ren of alcoholics (ACA, ACAs, ACOA, ACOAs, ACoA, or ACoAs).

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