Author: James Anderson

5 Challenges of Being a Substance Abuse Counselor HCI College

interesting facts about substance abuse counselors

Confidentiality is one of the main ethical concerns of working as a substance abuse counselor. However, federal laws protect the privacy of those undergoing therapy. Substance abuse counselors have firsthand knowledge of the need for more support and the challenges involved in helping people recover from addiction, but this doesn’t mean it’s always easy for them. Substance abuse counselors may also utilize an approach known as motivational interviewing to help people with addictions find the motivation to make changes in their lives. Using this strategy, counselors offer empathy and support while encouraging clients to see the discrepancy between where they are now and where they want to be.

interesting facts about substance abuse counselors

Although the educational requirements to work as an addiction counselor vary based on the job description and state licensing agency, most states require candidates to possess at least a bachelor’s degree. The job outlook for substance abuse counselors is expected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, which is faster than the average for other occupations. The demand for substance abuse counseling services is expected to increase as more states legalize marijuana, and the opioid epidemic continues. Substance abuse counselors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse counseling or a related field. One survey found that 71% of professionals employed in the addictions workforce held a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As a licensed addiction and mental health counselor, you can also open your own private counseling practice. If you’re thinking about a counseling career, read on to learn more about what addiction counselors do and how they help to make a difference in peoples’ lives. By creating an environment where patients feel comfortable and welcome discussing their hardships, counselors can better help their clients on the road to recovery. Professionals wanting to find out more about what a substance abuse counselor is may be interested to learn that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of substance abuse counselors to grow by 22% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average projected growth for all other occupations. The BLS further reports that the median annual wage for substance abuse counselors was $44,630 in 2018, although earners in the top 10th percentile reported annual earnings of more than $72,990.

Those with master’s-level degrees in fields such as psychology, social work, counseling, and related fields can provide individual counseling or may work in private practice. All of these qualities play a role in developing what is known as the therapeutic relationship or the working alliance between a mental health professional and a client. This relationship, which involves a bond of respect, trust, and mutual collaboration, can play an important part in successful substance use disorder treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment approach that focuses on changing thoughts and behavior patterns. Substance abuse counselors often use CBT techniques to help clients recognize the inaccurate thoughts and feelings that help maintain addiction. They also use CBT to teach new coping skills that help people find new ways to deal with cravings, relapses, and stress.

Substance Abuse Education

Substance abuse and addiction disorders are among the toughest illnesses to treat. They create a supportive, judgment-free environment that provides patients with the resources they need on their recovery journey. Students must also complete a set number of supervised training hours before they can take a licensing exam.

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. The same report found that less than 10 percent of people who needed treatment for substance use disorder received it. Once a patient decides to seek treatment, it’s important they are well equipped to avoid relapses. Preventing relapse requires more than just the willpower to say “no” when temptation arises, and prevention needs to start early in the recovery process.

How Substance Abuse Counselors Help in Addiction Recovery

When working with a patient, counselors start with an evaluation to determine whether their condition is classified as substance abuse or addiction. They then use the following techniques to create a positive and supportive environment that helps patients achieve success and makes them more resilient in the face of setbacks. Programs can be offered through schools, hospitals, the military, and the criminal justice system—and all have their own policies and procedures.

  1. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals.
  2. Students who want to effect social change in their community and help individuals heal from addiction should explore master’s in counseling programs that can provide a strong foundation in addiction counseling.
  3. While this trust takes time to develop, patients should eventually feel comfortable speaking freely during sessions, feel relief after an appointment and feel a desire to go back.
  4. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a treatment approach that focuses on changing thoughts and behavior patterns.
  5. It’s a social problem that costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

If you want to help someone, don’t make assumptions about their life or situation based on characteristics such as gender, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or even age. These things do not indicate whether someone will be successful in changing their behavior. However, individual requirements can vary depending on the state and the employer. An individual’s specific educational background and experience will determine the type of services they can provide.

Helping People Heal — Begin Your Counseling Journey

They meet regularly with patients to help them recover, and they may work intensely with people in crisis. Many addiction counselors also conduct couples and family therapy sessions, using peer discussion and social reinforcement to promote a healthy recovery process. 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. However, addiction counselors help people manage and overcome other types of addictions as well, such as gambling addiction.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030. As a licensed counselor with a master’s degree, you can look forward to a strong job market and reliable employment. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is expected to grow 22% between 2021 and 2031, adding nearly 80,000 new jobs. The support of friends and family plays an integral role in recovering from addiction. Since recovery is a lifelong journey, having supportive family members who understand the process is of profound importance.

Learn more about how completing an online Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling track from Wake Forest University can help you drive positive change in your clients’ lives. Substance abuse counselors work in various environments, including government and private sector agencies, community clinics, inpatient care facilities, and private practice. Some work with clients one-on-one, while others work with clients in a group setting. Yet regardless of the setting, the skills counselors need to successfully treat patients are uniform. Professionals who work in substance abuse counseling also work to educate people about the effects and risks of drug and alcohol misuse. A variety of outside resources are available to those recovering from addiction, which can be beneficial when combined with counseling treatment.

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. It’s also important to remember that not every approach works for every client, so bias toward one type of treatment (private or group sessions, medication or not) over another is to be avoided. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine.