Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

So, they usually save the “getting to know all of the nuances of your situation” part for a little later in treatment. In the beginning, they focus on helping you gain the knowledge and skills you need to prevent relapse. They talk to you about your life circumstances and immediately start problem-solving with you to get you out of toxic situations that threaten your recovery.

  • What’s more, drug and alcohol use can cause an altered mood, exacerbating stress and depression as well as other symptoms of mental illnesses.
  • However, privacy and confidentiality in substance abuse treatment is mandated not only by professional ethical guidelines and, usually, state law , but also by special federal laws.
  • Social and Community Service Managers Social and community service managers coordinate and supervise programs and organizations that support public well-being.
  • As a result, many states have begun to mandate treatment and counseling services for drug offenders in lieu of jail time.
  • Students who complete courses and field work required in each program will meet the eligibility requirements of the Texas Department of State Health Services to take the licensure exams for Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.

Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication. Other therapies involve people in recovery voluntarily helping animals at shelters or having animals during traditional therapy sessions. Research indicates animal- or pet-assisted therapy can improve a patient’s participation in treatment and willingness to talk about any history of trauma or substance abuse.

Substance Abuse Counseling Education Career Studies Certificate

Dr. Posson finds that most substance abuse counseling and alcohol abuse counselors are following a passion for helping people, more than just striving for a paycheck. 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. Some counselors work with clients who have been ordered by a judge or referred by other people, such as a parole officer, to receive treatment for addiction. Others work with specific populations, such as teenagers, veterans, or people with disabilities. Counselors may have to intervene in crises by stepping in when someone is endangering his or her own life or the lives of others. They also intervene in noncrisis situations by encouraging a person with addictions or other issues, such as difficulty processing emotions, to get help.


They often incentives for maintaining sobriety and are used in combination with behavioral therapies. Over the past decade, a rise in opioid addiction has made national headlines. Massachusetts has suffered from this problem, 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. Your path to becoming an addiction counselor will vary depending on the requirements of the state where you intend to practice.

General Education Requirements

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. Marta Nelson of Advanced Recovery Systems defines evidence-based treatment and explains that these treatments are researched and proven effective. Effective treatment focuses on the genetic and environmental causes of addiction. Students enrolling in this program can expect to learn from instructors who have hands-on, real-world experience in the ASD world. Counselors must be able to articulate and implement counseling intervention strategies perceived as appropriate by both the counselor and the client.

  • While many students pursuing this degree also choose to seek licensure, it’s important to remember that a license is not required for many roles in human services.
  • Other therapies involve people in recovery voluntarily helping animals at shelters or having animals during traditional therapy sessions.
  • Counselors should be thoroughly familiar with the facilities and services in his/her community to insure proper referral for clients with substance abuse problems.
  • Therapists who specialize in addiction recovery can often help people who are addicted set achievable and empowering short-term goals as they work to overcome their addiction.
  • Helping people develop new coping skills and ways of thinking is another important part of what substance abuse counselors do.

They’ll only delve into the issues underlying your substance use after they’ve helped you gain some stability in your recovery. Decades of scientific research on addiction treatment have found behavioral, motivational and family-based therapies to effectively treat substance use disorders. Other therapies such as EMDR and 12-step facilitation therapy are also backed by a plethora of research.

Degree Offered

Contingency management and motivational incentive approaches to therapy reinforce positive behavior with tangible rewards. The therapies augment other forms of therapy to increase abstinence during counseling. It’s effective at getting people into treatment but should not be the sole therapeutic approach. A person’s genetic makeup can make him or her more prone to sensation-seeking behavior, more compulsive mand more vulnerable to addiction. Life events such as trauma, stress and early exposure to substances of abuse can also affect a person’s vulnerability. MWCC’s Substance Abuse Counseling program trains students to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor so they are ready to sit for the IC&RC International Examination for Alcohol & Drug Counselors .

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. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed.

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