However, keep in mind that each state’s regulations are unique, and the license and certification requirements vary. For more information on each state’s specific criteria for substance abuse counselors, visit theNational Board for Certified Counselors. Earning your bachelor’s in addiction counseling degree is the first step toward pursuing a meaningful career in substance abuse counseling. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse is on an alarming upward trend in the United States, especially among younger children.

Therapy sessions involve multiple family members, such as spouses or parents and their children. Therapists teach strategies and skills for improving communication and the living environment. Each patient sets behavioral goals that are reviewed during each session by other family members. Different approaches are more appropriate and effective for different people, depending on their age, type of addiction and the factors that contributed to their addiction.

Assertive Continuing Care

Students must pass a national or state licensing or certification exam in order to be a certified substance abuse counselor. Students acquire the necessary skills in screening, intake, assessment, treatment planning and case management. They explore special issues in substance abuse counseling, including considerations when working with children and adolescents, encouraging family involvement in the treatment process and working with clients with co-occurring disorders like anxiety. These professionals work with individuals who experience a range of substance use issues. This may involve working with people with alcohol use disorders, but they may also work with clients with substance use disorders involving drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and prescription medications.

  • Counselors have to be highly empathetic people, who have a passion for building relationships with their patients.
  • It’s effective at getting people into treatment but should not be the sole therapeutic approach.
  • Addiction treatment centers use behavioral therapies more than any other therapeutic technique, according to the 2014 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.
  • Successful counseling outcome is dependent on counselor therapeutic skills such as focusing conversations on life problems, addressing presenting problems directly, and providing structure for counselor-client intervention.

Research indicates that the vast majority of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have an underlying mental health condition or significant emotional/psychological difficulty. About half of all people with mental health diagnoses will face challenges with drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives, usually as a result of using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Massachusetts has suffered from this problem, substance abuse counseling with nearly 30,000 deaths in 2018 alone from opioid- and heroin-related causes. When you study with us, you receive tools to help treat people with opioid and other addictions and guide them toward a new path. Just remember that the particular door you come through doesn’t matter as much as walking through the door in the first place. Any treatment program or professional can help you find the right level of care.

Multidimensional Family Therapy

A 2019 report by DHHS suggests that an additional 8 states certify substance abuse counselors at a level that allows them to practice independently . When a therapist uses their standard approach with clients who have substance use disorders, it can sometimes result in poor outcomes for those clients, despite that therapist’s best intentions. This is why it’s important to make sure you see someone who is specifically trained to treat substance use disorders.

What is a substance abuse counselor?

Addiction counselors, historically referred to as substance abuse counselors, provide expert care and support to people who struggle with a variety of mental health disorders. That usually means a dependence on drugs and alcohol.

Assertive continuing care involves weekly home visits during the three-month period after a teenager is discharged from a drug rehab facility. The therapy teaches teens and their caregivers problem-solving skills, communication techniques and other tools for promoting recovery. Treatment occurs in natural environments such as the home, school or neighborhood, and it has been proved to reduce rates of incarceration and substance abuse.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

The counselor must recognize when she is unable to work with a specific client. She cannot benefit clients who are abuse survivors if their issues cause her personal difficulties to the point where her own effectiveness is compromised. Any counselor working with adult survivors should seek support and some form of supervision to review her feelings about the issues brought up by her clients. At the same time, it is the agency’s responsibility to ensure that clients are receiving adequate, professional care.

  • The counselor’s role goes far beyond simply listening, teaching and offering advice.
  • Treatment occurs in natural environments such as the home, school or neighborhood, and it has been proved to reduce rates of incarceration and substance abuse.
  • Given this, a need exists to implement strategies to insure that all counselors have expertise in this area.
  • Because of the difficulties many abused clients have with intimacy, the new experience of having someone who listens and whom they can trust can sometimes lead them to believe that they are in love with the counselor.
  • Substance abuse is a critical problem in the United States across allsegments of the population and impacts in some way all members ofour society.
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 15 percent of Americans 18 or older needed treatment for substance abuse (now more appropriately called „substance use disorder”) in 2020.

If the legal system is involved with any client, the counselor may report on progress to a judge. They also meet with clients in recovery and often help them restart careers, find jobs, improve their situations, and refer them to programs that will help them continue to improve. Since family and friends also feel the effects of addiction, substance abuse counselors may counsel family and friends as well. A substance abuse counselor is a professional who works not only with those who struggle with substance abuse, but often with people who have eating disorders or other behavioral problems like gambling addiction.