Author: James Anderson

What to Look for in a Substance Abuse Counselor

drug and alcohol counselor

Approaches to treating substance misuse and addiction have undergone many changes over time. In the past, addiction was often regarded as a character flaw or moral failure. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  1. You might find that you want to pursue further education or work with a specific type of patient.
  2. The median annual salary for substance abuse counselors was $48,520 in May 2021.
  3. Most states require counselors to participate in a supervised internship as part of their coursework.
  4. It uses positive reinforcement such as monetary prizes to reward good behavior.

More job opportunities for counselors are expected due to recent federal legislation that mandates individual health coverage, which includes treatment for mental health issues and behavioral disorders. Specific job duties often vary depending on where professionals work and the type of support they offer. They often counsel individuals or groups to help people understand the factors contributing to addiction. Helping people develop new coping skills and ways of thinking is another important part of what substance abuse counselors do. The CADC certification is designed for professionals specializing in the counseling of individuals with alcohol and drug use disorders. Substance abuse counselors typically work in substance abuse treatment facilities, such as outpatient clinics and residential treatment centers.

What Makes a Good Addiction Counselor?

Alcohol and drug abuse counselors (sometimes called substance abuse counselors) work with people who abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Through individual and group counseling sessions, they help their clients understand and change their destructive substance abuse behaviors. Approximately 267,730 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are employed in the United States. Employment of alcohol and drug abuse counselors is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2028, according to the U.S.

The hours that an alcohol and drug abuse counselor works depend upon where he or she is employed. Many residential treatment facilities and mental health centers—and all crisis centers—have counselors on duty during evening and weekend hours. Other employers, such as government agencies and universities, are likely to have more conventional working hours. Job requirements for substance abuse counselors vary by state and specialty.

drug and alcohol counselor

They may also work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or private practice. Substance abuse counselors work with individuals and groups to provide counseling, education, and support to those struggling with substance use disorders. They may also provide case management services and refer clients to other resources, such as support groups or 12-step programs. 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. 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.

How to Find a Substance Abuse Counselor

A substance abuse counselor works with their patients to identify their needs and goals. There are instances in which people offer guidance to those with substance use disorders without official credentials. An example of this is leading 12-step group counseling programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. They play a crucial role in the treatment and recovery process of individuals with substance use disorders.

drug and alcohol counselor

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. Mental health issues and behavioral disorders often coincide with addiction. Substance abuse counselors are required to be licensed to practice legally. Counselors provide support and guidance for those dealing with addiction or behavioral disorders.

CM treats several types of substance use disorders and encourages and reinforces sobriety. It uses positive reinforcement such as monetary prizes to reward good behavior. This is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience and observe experienced professionals within the field. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about a more specific career path. These are the types of degrees required for admission to a Masters-level program.

History of Substance Abuse Counseling

It’s okay not to make a decision right after meeting with just one counselor. Though some people will want to know methods in detail, others just want to know if they like a counselor. It’s important to determine if a counselor is right for you before pursuing a long-term relationship. Those in private practice have more control over case management and treatment. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals.

Types of Therapies Offered

Requirements vary from state to state, so make sure you know what is required in your state. Bachelor’s degrees are increasingly expected for entry-level positions.5, 7 Beyond entry-level, advanced degrees are often required. There are a variety of behavioral health therapies for dealing with co-occurring disorders. Many counselors are former addicts themselves, although this is not a requirement.

Through education, people are often inspired to enter treatment on their own. In addition to the counselor’s reputation, this also includes their work experience and credentials. MM employs a behavioral modification while also teaching self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. The therapy used varies based on whether the counselor is part of a clinic or works in private practice. A good counselor can also diagnose and treat any co-occurring mental health problems.

The employment sector also plays an important role in determining salary. The median yearly earning for those employed in residential substance abuse facilities was $42,900, while the median for those in government settings was $60,450. 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. Substance abuse counselors may have a master’s degree or doctorate degree. Around 48% of people working in the addictions field hold a master’s or doctorate.