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What Is The Role Of An Addiction Counselor

Consultation With Other Professionals

Addiction Counselors: Their Role In Recovery

A substance abuse counselors ultimate goal is to ensure their clients receive comprehensive, quality care. Consultation with in-house and out of house professionals can become an intricate and vital element of care. Your ability to recognize issues beyond your knowledge base or skill and then identify and consult with the appropriate resources and professionals will be critical to your success and your clients wellbeing.

The 12 core functions create the blueprint to effective substance use treatment. Learning the details of each is fundamental to your career. In the coming weeks, well be talking in depth about each one. Be sure to subscribe or follow us on and to keep up!

Substance Abuse Counselor Job Description Template

We are seeking a compassionate and dedicated substance abuse counselor to help provide direction and support for our patients. In this role, you will be responsible for developing treatment and recovery plans, and identifying behaviors that impede rehabilitation. You may also be required to facilitate individual and group therapy sessions.

To ensure success, substance abuse counselors should be familiar with the latest treatment methods, and collaborate with other mental health care specialists. Top-notch candidates have excellent clinical knowledge and demonstrable counseling experience.

Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements

Qualifications to become a substance abuse counselor can vary, often depending upon the type of setting and employer. For most positions, a bachelors degree is required to be a substance abuse counselor. A Bachelor of Science in psychology is one type of degree held by a substance abuse counselor. However, for greater professional advancement, most counselors obtain a masters degree.

To be authorized and licensed to work as a substance abuse counselor, a counselor must hold a masters degree and have 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Moreover, addiction counselors must complete continuing education courses every year and pass a state-issued exam. However, keep in mind that each states regulations are different, and the license and certification requirements change. For instance, not all states require applicants to have a specific degree, but many require them to pass an exam.

Substance abuse counselor will work with you one-on-one in private sessions for the entirety of your stay

There is a long tradition of people who have overcome their own addictions to counsel others to overcome their addictions. Counselors with personal experience overcoming drug or alcohol addictions are sometimes viewed as especially insightful and helpful to those seeking treatment.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.

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Core Functions: The Core Function Called Counseling

February 9, 2017 by Keisha Mclean-Green

Last Updated on February 9, 2017 by Morris Green

Its the bread and butter of a substance abuse counselors job. Its the major component of their clients treatment plans that leaves a lasting impact. Its the sixth core function, and its called Counseling. According to, counseling is a noun and a verb meaning to give professional guidance with the goal of resolving personal conflicts and emotional problems. But for counselors working with clients recovering from addiction, its so much more.

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What Education Or Certification Will I Need To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

Importance of Family Healing and Counseling in Drug and Alcohol Rehab ...

While a masters degree in counseling or social work is a common requirement to work as a substance abuse counselor, not every state requires this level of education. However, holding a higher degree allows you to offer more help and services to clients.

If career plan includes running a private practice, you will be required to hold a masters degree and complete up to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Upon passing an exam, youll be licensed to practice as a substance abuse counselor in your state. Check with your state for educational requirements even if youre not planning to operate a private practice.

Certification can be obtained from the National Board of Certified Counselors . Before you can take the exam, youll need to complete two years of supervised field study after earning your masters degree.

Learn more about what youll study.

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The Counselor Creates Trust

In order for the patient to create an alliance with their counselor, they must have trust. The bond is a therapeutic alliance that allows the person with substance abuse issues to feel comfortable sharing their feelings. This allows the patient to feel that there is someone there for them even when the going gets tough. If a counselor doesnt have a trustworthy relationship with their client, recovery is more difficult. Instead of feeling uncomfortable or awkward, a trusting relationship does a few important things for the patient including:

  • Knowing that the counselor is attentive and listening
  • Knowing that the counselor has empathy
  • Knowing the counselor is interested in the patients well-being and health both mental and physical
  • Knowing the counselor is not only understanding in their needs, but that they can actively communicate foundational issues that are important to living a sober lifestyle.

What Is The Role Of A Counselor In Family Therapy

Help the client, family, or group understand problems and the consequences of their actions by using strategies.Utilize approaches to assist the client, family, or group in examining their own behaviors, attitudes, and feelings, among other things.Individualize therapy based on differences in culture, gender, age, and way of life, among others.

Obtaining solutions and decisions from the client is essential.

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What Are The 5 Types Of Drug Abuse

  • Drug Abuse Comes in a Variety of Forms Alcoholism is the most prevalent form of drug abuse. Short-term exhilaration and sedation are produced by alcohol use.
  • Narcotics. It is believed that the word narcotic comes from the Greek word meaning numb.
  • Substance Abuse in the Prescribing Population.
  • Benzodiazepines.
  • Club drugs are illegal in the United States.
  • Cocaine and crack cocaine
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    What Are The Benefits Of Being A Substance Abuse Counselor

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    As with many jobs in the psychology and counseling fields, substance abuse counseling offers many personal benefits as a result of helping people overcome significant obstacles in their lives.

    Substance abuse counselors see some clients fail, but they also have many that succeed. Knowing that they have helped a client turn his or her life around can be a source of great pride for workers in this field. There is also much satisfaction to be taken from seeing a client grow, develop, and regain what they have lost as a result of their drug use.

    Becoming a substance abuse counselor also has many economic advantages. Many jobs in substance abuse counseling are accessible with a high school diploma and some post-secondary training, which represents a significant savings over other occupations that require a lot of schooling, and thus require a lot of money for college.

    Another benefit of entering this field of work is that it is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to experience very rapid growth over the next few years. In fact, the BLS predicts a 22 percent increase in jobs in substance abuse counseling, so there will be ample opportunities for employment throughout the country in this field of work.

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    What Skills Are Required To Be A Substance Abuse Counselor

    You will need many skills to become a successful substance abuse counselor. This includes the following:

    • Perseverance and motivation
    • Effective communication
    • Respect for client privacy

    Counselors often work with individuals who are facing life-changing challenges, so they must know how to best address their patients unique problems. A good counselor nurtures a trusting relationship by sympathizing with and understanding each patient while also developing healthy boundaries.

    Showing respect and patience is likewise important for addiction counselors, who must recognize that each patient is in a different stage of healing and recovery.

    Defining A Substance Abuse Counselor

    A substance abuse counselor is an individual with experience in giving substance abuse treatment to clients suffering from drug or alcohol addiction and wants to learn how to reduce or remove their unhealthy dependence on destructive substances and behaviors. Substance abuse counselors work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to share various techniques and treatments for coping with problems in ways other than turning to unhealthy substances.

    Group therapy can lead to discussions about family dynamics and how unhealthy relationships can create or feed into addictive behaviors. Once these dysfunctions are identified, the client can begin making important post-treatment planswith a substance abuse counselor

    Counseling a person who is struggling with substance abuse before it becomes dependence or addiction requires treatment and a recovery plan, Its the counselors responsibility to help these individuals recover from substance abuse and addiction. Although a counselors job is to mostly center on the addiction itself, counselors also address any underlying issues.

    Get Your Life Back

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    What Are The Different Careers Options

    It’s a great idea to narrow down the type of career you hope to pursue. Here’s a quick look at some of the professional pathways you might want to explore and the required degrees.

    Careers that require a bachelor’s degree:

    • Substance abuse counselor

    In January 2020, there were more than 14,000 specialized substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States providing counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management and other types of care.

    What Types Of Therapy Are Available

    Substance Abuse Counseling in Mississippi

    There are many different types of therapies designed to complement the traditional addiction counseling sessions. Depending on the treatment center, these may include:

    Quality addiction treatment centers also include nutrition and wellness and provide a variety of additional types of therapies in order to treat the whole person, with the ultimate goal of guiding the patient toward a lasting recovery.

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    What Does A Counsellor Do

    Counselors are in charge of taking notes, writing reports, and keeping track of any other information pertaining to a patients condition. 12. Consultation with other professionals on the treatment or services provided to clients: It is possible that many patients may underestimate the importance of the final of the four main roles of counseling.

    Provide Guidance For Loved Ones

    Substance abuse recovery isnt only about the addict. This process is difficult for the loved ones of the addict.

    Theyre witnessing withdrawals, intense mood swings, and watching their loved ones suffer. Its also common for loved ones to have questions about recovery and are unsure of their roles.

    This is where an addiction counselor comes in.

    An addiction counselor not only supports the addict but also their loved ones. They provide education on substance abuse, the recovery process, and what loved ones can do to support their loved ones.

    They will be there from the intervention to the moment when the addict is cleaned up from their addiction. An addiction counselor can also be there after they recover, to provide more guidance on sober living.

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    What Is A Drug & Alcohol Counselor

    Unfortunately, drug and alcohol abuse is an epidemic all over the world. Many people addicted to alcohol or drugs also have mental and behavioural problems which need to be addressed.

    Drug & alcohol counselors are trained professionals who work with clients to help them better understand and overcome their addictions. To do this job well, one has to love working with and helping people. As a result, many addicts will be able to reclaim their lives and finally overcome their addictions. While it can be a tough job, it can be a rewarding one as well.

    To Encourage Continuous Sobriety

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    Counselors are also there to encourage continuous sobriety. Their roles do not end when the counseling sessions end. They will be there to support their clients long after the official counseling date arises.

    Thus, a client can feel confident that he or she has someone to turn to if life gets too demanding or stressful after the program. Continuous sobriety and healing are the goals that most counselors wish to achieve for their clients.

    Those are some of the parts that addiction counselors play in the recovery process of another person. These people have other roles, as well. Therefore, addicted persons should connect with a counselor as quickly as possible.

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    Substance Abuse Counselors Job Description

    The job of an addiction counselor is to guide those with addictions away from substance abuse to prevent the problems it can cause. Because many addictive substances cause the breakdown of the human body and promote illness, those who battle addiction may also suffer from other physical conditions.

    Additional, substance abuse can cause behavioral changes that contribute to family discord, financial struggles, joblessness, homelessness and criminal activity. Keep reading to find out more about what it takes to work as an addiction counselor.

    What Career Paths Can I Take As A Substance Abuse Counselor

    Several factors will contribute to your career path as a substance abuse counselor. For example, holding a masters degree will generally provide more job prospects, including private practice.

    Another factor is specialization. If you choose to become a substance abuse counselor with a focus on a certain demographic, your career path will dictated by that populations needs and location.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics current Occupational Outlook Handbook, substance abuse counselor jobs are common in the following locations:

    • Outpatient and residential mental health and substance abuse centers
    • State and local governments

    If you work with children or teenagers, you could end up working in schools or after-school programs.

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    Whats Next To Pursue This Career

    To start you on your path towards becoming a substance abuse counselor it is advisable to get a Bachelors degree in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work or a related field. It is also wise to learn a foreign language as bilingual and multilingual employees are highly coveted. Here are some schools in your area that have degree programs in the field. Get started today on your exciting career as a substance abuse counselor!

    What Are The Educational Requirements To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

    School Counselors, Students, and Substance Abuse

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, education requirements to work as a substance abuse counselor are extremely varied, perhaps more so than any other mental health profession.

    In some states, entry-level work can be done with little more than on-the-job training after high school. Workers with this level of education and training cannot be called counselors, per se, as state regulations typically preclude anyone without a masters degree or higher to call themselves a counselor.

    Instead, substance abuse counselors typically must have a masters degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a closely related field.

    Although coursework is focused on addictions and psychopharmacology, greater emphasis has been placed on traditional training in human behavior and counseling techniques over the last few years.

    For some workers, obtaining a Ph.D. is advantageous, particularly if they wish to enter into private practice or work in a clinical setting. Ph.D. programs in addictions and substance abuse counseling are plentiful, and typically take five years to complete.

    Upon completion of a training or educational program, substance abuse counselors may be required to be certified or licensed. These requirements vary from state to state and depend as well on the employment setting.

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    What Does An Addiction Counselor Do

    With the help of an addiction counselor, you can explore what caused you to use drugs or alcohol, share and process feelings, increase awareness of negative though and behavior patterns, learn healthy coping skills, identify potential triggers, and create a long-term plan to sustain your sobriety. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs rely heavily on the use of addiction counseling and these take place in individual or group formats.

    An addiction counselors role is to:

    • Conduct substance abuse evaluations and general assessments
    • Provide unbiased emotional support for individuals throughout a treatment program
    • Conduct one-on-one, couples, and family therapy sessions to get to the root of the addiction
    • Provide psychoeducation
    • Facilitate process groups and group exercises
    • Administer periodic drug and alcohol tests
    • Develop a specialized plan for treatment based on your individual needs and goals
    • Help you create an aftercare plan based on care available in your area

    Addiction counselors will also conduct group therapy sessions that often incorporate family members or other patients in addiction treatment. Group therapy can lead to discussions about family dynamics and how unhealthy relationships can create or feed into addictive behaviors. Once these dysfunctions are identified, the patient can begin making important post-treatment plans.

    Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.

    What Substance Abuse Behavioral Disorder And Mental Health Counselors Do About This Section

    Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors advise people on a range of issues, such as those relating to alcoholism, addictions, or depression. They provide support, including for prevention, to help clients recover from addiction, modify problem behaviors, or improve mental health.

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    Develop A Plan In Case Of Relapse

    While the counselor is focused on helping you get sober, an aftercare plan is important to recovery. The relapse rate is high among those with substance abuse. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notates:

    The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. This rate is similar to rates of relapse for other chronic diseases such as hypertension or asthma.

    This in no way means that a lifetime of recovery is not possible and this is why it is so important for the counselor to provide a relapse plan. And while many may relapse at some time in the life, this does not mean that the treatment was a failure. What it does mean is that there should be an adjustment to the current treatment. Just like medication can be titrated, so can the form of treatment from the counselor.

    Now each patient should have a plan that is tailored just for them. There are certain elements that should be included such as:

    • The warning signs that are especially important to the individual patient
    • A history of substance abuse as well as notations of any relapse history
    • An emergency plan in case of relapse
    • A list of family and friends who can be there for the patient in case of a relapse
    • Lifestyle changes that may work well for the patient to prevent a relapse. This can include staying away from certain stressors or anything that may trigger a relapse.

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