Justin Steffener is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.


phenomenology, court ordered treatment, substance abuse, lived experience, crystal meth, methamphetamine, addictions

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This phenomenological study was designed to explore with a sample of methamphetamine dependent adults their perceptions of the process involved in their experiences of court-ordered treatment. The motivation for this study derives from the researcher's wish to unearth ways to better understand and support the needs of adults suffering from addiction. A significant amount of research has already been conducted in regards to the treatment of methamphetamine addiction from the standpoint of quantitative measurements of treatment outcomes, but limited information is presently available from the perspective of the suffers. The stringent selection of the sample was composed of six individuals with prior histories of being court-ordered to drug treatment for methamphetamine use. The participants were drawn from Narcotics and Alcohol Anonymous groups in the Snohomish and King County regions of Washington State. The collection of data was primarily through the means of structured interviews that offered space for the individuals' perspectives to emerge. A brief survey was utilized as a supportive method to collect demographic information of the participants. This study gathered the statements of the participants and focused on the emergent themes that were collectively expressed among the participants' experiences. This research revealed the positive and negative impressions felt towards the court system and treatment processes. The findings showed that the court system experience was an incentive to enter and remain in treatment and was considered a positive once the participants accepted the obligations of the court system. The negative perceptions of the court system were due to issues related to practical concerns and perceptions of the court system as intimidating and punitive. Positive aspects of the treatment were experienced as learning skills to make positive life changes, acquiring new perceptions, learning from others and gaining a sense of community, and having positive life experiences. Negative aspects of treatment were experienced as challenges working with others (staff, counselors, and patients), lack of useful treatment interventions, and insufficient structure. Considering the various factors affect not only the treatment of individuals suffering from addiction, the recommendations address the specific needs reported by the individuals in the present study. The electronic version of this dissertation is at OhioLink ETD Center,