As substance use and mental illness services are increasingly integrated, mental health professionals are presented with opportunities to refer greater numbers of dually-diagnosed clients to 12-step groups. This study examined the relationships among clinicians’ 12-step experiences, attitudes and referral practices in 6 NYC mental health clinics. A path analysis model showed that greater interest in learning about 12-step (12-step interest) directly predicted 12-step referral practices and that 12-step interest was predicted both by clinicians’ perception of the helpfulness of 12-Step groups and the severity of their patients’ problems with substance abuse. Clinicians’ responses to open-ended questions supported this model. Didactic and experiential education for clinicians in substance abuse and mutual aid would likely increase patient referrals to 12-step groups.
Keywords: 12-step, referrals, dual-diagnosis, mental health, clinician, mutual-aid