Dr. Claudia Black, MSW, Ph.D., was presented with the prestigious Father Joseph C. Martin Professional Excellence Award August 24, 2014 at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) before an applauding standing audience of 800 attendees. This recognition is bestowed annually by the Maryland treatment center to an individual whose life work has produced a meaningful impact in the field of addictive disorders.
The award is named on behalf of Father Joseph Martin; best known for his film Chalk Talk on Alcohol that is credited with saving the lives of thousands of alcoholics and addicts. Father Martin is known for his charismatic style and sense of humor and his 40 films are legendary in the addiction field.
Dr. Claudia Black, a Senior Fellow and Addiction and Trauma Program Specialist at The Meadows, said during her acceptance speech, “I didn’t know anyone who showed greater love, respect and compassion for the addicted and their families than Father Martin. He singularly did much to lessen the stigma and certainly celebrated them in their recovery. I was fortunate to have met him early in my career whereupon we became close friends and maintained that relationship until his passing. Upon hearing that I was receiving this award in his name, I knew it would bring a smile to his face. He was always a strong advocate of my work and felt very strongly that this was a family disease and family members of all ages deserve their own healing and recovery process.”
Dr. Black is the co-founder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA), and also designs and presents training workshops and seminars to professional audiences in the field of family service, mental health, addiction and correctional services. Since the 1970's, Dr. Black’s work has impacted the professional field’s understanding of addiction’s effect on families. She has made many pioneering contributions, including:
- First to name and coin the dysfunctional family rules, “Don’t Talk, Don’t Trust, Don’t Feel”
- Described the phenomena of delayed stress, emotional trauma, the child’s denial process, the phenomena of “looking good” kids as they relate to growing up with addiction, and hence the meaning and phraseology of “Adult Child of Alcoholics”
- Utilized art therapy in the context of group work with young children that offered a model for children’s programs for the past three plus decades
- Broke the barrier and openly discussed physical and sexual abuse in the context of addictive families
Her work at The Meadows is evident in its model of intervention and treatment related to family violence, multi-addictions, relapse, anger, depression and women's issues. She authors books and creates educational videos for use with the addicted client and families affected by addiction.
Biographical History to Dr. Black’s Work
- 1977 Claudia Black entered the field as a social worker in a 16 bed alcoholism unit in Canoga Park, California.
- 1978 Fr. Martin introduces Claudia at National Almaca (now EAPA) conference in San Francisco, where she speaks publicly for the first time about children of alcoholics.
- 1979 Newsweek Magazine writes a full page on her work with young children and presents the concept of adult children of alcoholics.
- 1979 Five children and Claudia fly from California to Chicago for the Phil Donahue Show. The first time the issue of children of alcoholics ever talked about on national television.
- 1979 My Dad Loves Me, My Dad Has a Disease, her first book, a book for children ages 5 – 12, is published and continues today in its third edition to be the primary book for young children of addiction.
- 1982 her book 'It Will Never Happen to Me' was published, a classic in our field, to date selling over 2 million copies
- 1983 Co-founder of the National Association of Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)
- 2009 She was the developer behind Camp Mariposa, offered through The (Jamie) Moyer Foundation, children of addiction camps now in eight states.
During the span of her career she has written over fifteen books, many published in several other languages, and created over 20 educational videos that have become mainstays in the field of addiction treatment and recovery. Claudia has travelled the US extensively over the years speaking about the impact addiction has on children, young and adult, and the family in general. She also addresses issues that are specific to the addicted, such as relapse, anger, and depression. She has spoken on behalf of World Services Al-Anon on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, and the Parliament in Ottawa Canada.
She has taken her message throughout the world to all continents, and just this past month was interviewed on an Iranian satellite television show.
As much as she is a writer and educator, she has always continued to work hands on with clients, both the addicted and their family members in inpatient treatment programs.