What Happens In Addiction Counseling
Knowing what to expect when you enter addiction counseling helps you feel prepared for whats to come. It can take some of the scary feelings of the unknown away. It can also bring you comfort with your decision.
There are several types of addiction treatment programs. Each will include addiction counseling of some type.
In most cases, youll start with a detoxification protocol. This is when you are medically supervised and treated as you go through symptoms of withdrawal from the substance you were using. This can be quite uncomfortable, even painful for some people. The medical professionals monitor you to help mitigate discomfort as best as possible as well as to insure you are safe.
Once thats finished, you may decide to choose long-term or short-term residential treatment. If a person has difficulty staying stopped after detox, residential treatment is the recommended level of care. In these situations, youll live on-site and go through structured daily treatments.
This might include therapy or training for future employment. It could be learning coping mechanisms and engaging in life skills training for success when leaving the program. Most importantly, residential is a supportive community-minded environment away from access to your drug of choice.
In any of these choices, the actual addiction counseling will include sessions. These sessions approach your addiction in a customized way. It takes into account your specific symptoms, choices, and behaviors.
What Are The Education Requirements For A Substance Abuse Counseling Career
|Counseling Educational Track|
|Online or Campus|
In some areas, you may be able to take a certificate course to start your substance abuse counseling career. The best way to start working toward a substance abuse counseling career, however, is by completing a bachelors degree program in psychology or counseling. While working toward this degree, it is usually recommended that you take several courses on substance abuse and recovery.
In order to pursue a career as certified or licensed substance abuse counselor, though, you will also most likely need to earn a masters degree in substance abuse counseling, and complete several hours of supervised training in a clinical setting.
Learn more about getting your substance abuse counseling degree.
What Education Or Certification Will I Need To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor
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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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.
Is There A Specialty For Alcohol Abuse Counseling
Yes, there are specialized counselors who focus on providing alcohol counseling. In most cases, they will hold the same license as a professional counselor or substance abuse counselor. They may have had additional training specific to recognizing and treating alcohol addiction and related disorders, such as a postgraduate certificate or other formal training.
References: 1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 3. O*NET OnLine, Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: 4. National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers: 5. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections:
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Work Environment About This Section
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors held about 351,000 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors were as follows:
|Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers||19%|
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors work in a wide variety of settings, including mental health centers, prisons, probation or parole agencies, and juvenile detention facilities. They also work in halfway houses, detox centers, or in employee assistance programs . EAPs are mental health programs provided by some employers to help employees deal with personal problems.
Some addiction counselors work in residential treatment centers, where clients live in the facility for a fixed period of time. Others work with clients in outpatient treatment centers. Some counselors work in private practice, where they may work alone or with a group of counselors or other professionals.
Although rewarding, the work of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is often stressful. Many counselors have to deal with large workloads. They do not always have enough resources to meet the demand for their services. Also, they may have to intervene in crisis situations or work with agitated clients, which can be difficult.
A Day In The Life: What Does An Addiction Counselor Do
At least 15 million American adults have alcohol use disorder. And every day, 115 people succumb to opioid overdose.
These numbers dont tell the full story of Americas addiction problem, though. Millions more are struggling with other addictions, such as compulsive eating and gambling.
At the forefront of the fight against this national epidemic are addiction counselors. They work to help as many addicts as possible to recover from their addictions.
If youre looking to join this profession, its important to know what a day in the life of a practicing addiction counselor looks like. Were painting that picture for you.
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Getting Therapy For Addiction
Anyone suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction knows how powerful and devastating this disease can be. Sometimes a person abusing substances believes they are managing addiction on their own, when in reality their addiction is managing them. A licensed addiction counselor can help a person abusing substances at any stage of readiness to achieve and maintain sobriety.
Counselors are an important part of addiction therapy, and their role and involvement in the treatment process is instrumental to recovery.
Addiction counselors can help support you throughout the treatment process and create an individualized plan for recovery, relapse prevention, and after-care. There are various types of therapy available while in treatment that will provide an array of benefits and allow you to sustain your sobriety while in recovery.
Common Questions About Rehab
The Role Of Addiction Counselors
Addiction counselors provide two primary functions.
The first of these is to act as an impartial, non-judgmental confidante: someone that you can talk to with complete confidence about any and every aspect of your addiction and other factors in your life that impact upon it. Even if you have friends or family you trust and can talk to, and feel that you can tell them absolutely anything, an addiction counselor can give you an extra that people who already believe they know all about you, cannot. If you have no-one else upon whom you can depend, addiction counselors should provide the trust, empathy and understanding of your issues that is vital to helping you move forward with rehabilitation.
The second function of addiction counselors is to provide you with the support, education and guidance required to carry you through the process of your rehab. It is not for addiction counselors to dictate the route you must take through rehab for this to be successful on an individual basis it is important that you are in control of the pace and direction that your rehab takes.
The guidance that addiction counselors provide is likely to be based upon an exploration and discussion of each of the aspects of your addiction. For example, addiction counselors might examine with you some of the personal circumstances that have possibly contributed to your succumbing to an addiction, or perhaps the effects of your addiction upon your personal relationships, and how you feel about this.
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The Substance Abuse Counselor Job Outlook Is Positive
Substance abuse counseling is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 23% increase from 2016-2026 due to a rise in people seeking addiction and mental health counseling services, as well as states seeking treatment and counseling services instead of jail time for drug offenders.
Dr. Donald Posson, who teaches several of the courses within National Universitys undergraduate certificate in alcohol and drug abuse counseling program, has been in the addictions and mental health field for over twenty years those job projection numbers dont surprise him. Thats not even taking into account the need thats coming with the opioid crisis, he says. We havent even begun to deal with the counseling aspect of that or identified how were going to deal with it or resource it. Over the next five to ten years its going to require many more therapists than we currently have in the pipeline.
Dr. Posson notes that across the professional spectrum in California, only about 10 percent of therapists currently have experience in substance abuse counseling. Individuals seeking counseling and therapy are finding it difficult to find the trained professionals they need to help them conquer negative habits.
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Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
Nationwide, the salaries for substance abuse counselors typically falls within the range of $46,240 and $76,080.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National 50th 90th percentile range for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors.Salaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.
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Taking The First Step
Now that you know what to expect from addiction counseling, youre in a good situation to decide how to move forward.
The sad truth is that only about 10 percent of people with an addiction get the right kind of help. If you want to recover and live a full and healthy life, counseling could be your saving grace.
Get in touch today for an assessment, and let us help you start your path to recovery and take the steps necessary to beat your addiction.
Is This For Me
The first step is to determine whether becoming a substance abuse counselor is truly for you. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become a a substance abuse addictions counselor, substance abuse counselors must be certain before taking the first step. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself before becoming a substance abuse counselor:
- What is my true motivation behind becoming an addictions counselor?
- Do I have patience and tolerance for addicts?
- Can I remain neutral even when an addict reveals terrible things about their using days?
- Am I able to maintain objectivity enforce harsh penalties if an addict breaks the rules of a rehab facility?
- What is my personal history with addiction? Do I need to heal any old wounds?
- Do I enjoy helping others?
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How Long Does It Take To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor
All states require a license to practice substance abuse counseling within a private facility. Earning this license can require up to six years of college and more than 3,000 hours of supervised work experience.1 Counselors who work within a government agency, however can qualify by having a high school diploma, completing accredited addiction counseling courses and gaining three years of supervised work experience.
Students must have a four-year undergraduate degree to qualify for a two-year masters degree program. Counselors can qualify for a license with a masters degree in psychology, social work, counseling or mental health.
Support Groups & Aftercare
After you complete aformal treatment program, you should engage in some form of aftercare toreceive support so you can stay abstinent. Some of the ways you mightparticipate in aftercare include:
- Individual counseling, where you work one-on-one with a therapist to receive support and continue working on your goals.
- Group therapy, where, under the guidance of a counselor, you work with others who are in recovery so you can benefit from the support and encouragement of the group.
- Family therapy, which is based on the idea that problems in relationships can contribute to or lead to addiction and other dysfunctional behaviors and aims to improve relationship functioning as a way of supporting recovery.
- Support groups, such as spiritually based 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or secular groups like SMART Recovery or Secular Organizations for Sobriety, which rely on ongoing peer support. Many people are lifelong participants in these groups.
- Sober living homes, which are residences that provide different levels of safe and structured support. These can be very helpful for people who have unsafe or unsupportive home environments or who require additional support before they transition back to living at home.
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What State Has The Highest Average Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
As of 2021, Utah had the highest average substance abuse counselor salary, at $66,190 per year.1 Louisiana had the lowest average addiction counselor salary, at $39,970 per year.1 Factors that influence salaries include metropolitan area, demand for counselors, local cost of living, and counselor qualifications.
American Addiction Centers Can Help
At American Addiction Centers, we are committed to providing the best addiction treatment to our clients regardless of the level of care. We know how challenging it can be to make the first step in getting help, but we also understand that reaching out is a sign of strength and an indication that you are ready to start taking control of your life. Call us today to see what addiction treatment program would be best for you, whether youre just taking the first step in recovery or youre seeking an appropriate aftercare program.
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Where Can I Get The Training I Need To Get Into This Field
Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH offers an Associate of Technical Study in Addiction Counseling. This program provides students with both classroom training hours and supervised clinical internship hours, which are required when graduates apply for their licensure exam offered by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Board as Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors.
Following the successful completion of their licensure exam and designated work hours required by the licensing board, graduates can then begin seeking employment in their chosen field.
These programs also meet the licensure recommendations of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium. This organization sets the international standards that determine if a chemical dependency counselor is competent and capable of fulfilling their job duties.
Addiction Counselors Are Emotionally Strong
Addiction counselors hear and deal with the addiction issues of others, so it is important that they are emotionally sound and maintain emotional stability. When an addiction counselor maintains their emotional professionalism, they are better able to effectively work with their patients. With all the emotional turmoil experienced by addicts, it is the addiction counselors emotional stability that can become the calm in the storm for many addicts. An addiction counselor must be prepared emotionally to cope with patients with all different types of experiences, backgrounds, and issues.
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Courses In Substance Abuse Counselor Programs
A substance abuse counselor program teaches students about diverse perspectives in the field. Master’s programs require 35-50 credits depending on the school and take 2-4 years to complete.
In their courses, students examine substance abuse warning signs and effects, prevention and intervention, and various counseling forms and philosophies. Many programs include internships, requiring students to complete supervised working hours and providing hands-on experience. Find potential course examples for substance abuse counselor programs below, but keep in mind not all schools hold these class offerings.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy And Motivational Interviewing
Motivational Enhancement Therapy and Motivational Interviewing are therapies with a similar goal of motivating alcoholics to change. MI uses a broader approach, while MET uses a more specific one that focuses on assessment, feedback, and plans for achieving change. Both of these therapies help people develop skills and confidence to maintain sobriety.
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How Do Substance Abuse Counselor Salaries Compare
The salary, information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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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