4 Things to Look for in a Substance Abuse Counselor
Authored by Audra Franchini
What to Look for in a Substance Abuse Rehab Counselor
Many people find it difficult to understand why some individuals develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Our society as a whole lacks empathy for those struggling with substance abuse. Americans commonly view substance users as people who lack willpower. The truth remains that repeated drug use changes brain function, causing drug users to seek out substances compulsively. Quitting can be difficult due to withdrawal symptoms, and so, the cycle continues.
Fortunately, substance abuse rehab counseling and other addiction treatment options are becoming increasingly available. For those interested in addressing substance use, substance abuse counseling may be an important step on the road to recovery.
What is Substance Abuse Counseling?
Substance abuse rehab counseling targets the symptoms involved with drug and alcohol abuse by focusing on behavioral change, developing skills for recovery, and improving self-motivation. The primary incentives of counseling for drugs and alcohol abuse include establishing and maintaining abstinence, as well as addressing behaviors associated with substance use. A secondary aspect of alcohol and drug abuse counseling involves lifestyle rehabilitation.
Counseling for substance abuse rehab prompts self-motivated change in addition to support from others. While the individual is ultimately responsible for his or her recovery, a positive support network is also important. Any counselors, treatment professionals, sponsors, recovering peers, or family members can all contribute to the recovery process.
What to Look For in a Substance Abuse Counselor
There are certain qualifications to look for when deciding on a substance abuse counselor, as listed below:
- Proof of Higher Education: Most addiction counselors should have their master’s degree in a field relating to human services.
- Training, Credentials, and Experience: Counselors must have 3 years minimum experience in addiction counseling and be familiar with 12-step models. It’s beneficial but not required for addiction counselors to have professional certification. However, most counselors become credentialed after establishing work history with an institution.
- Positive Recovery Status: While it may seem surprising, many addiction counselors are in recovery from substance abuse or have close experience with substance abuse. This experience provides substance abuse counselors with profound knowledge of the addiction cycle and increases their inclination to empathize with patients. Practicing counselors should have at least five years of active recovery under their belt.
- Tact and a Constructive Outlook: In addition to demonstrating professional judgment, addiction counselors should be able to develop a constructive rapport with clients to promote positive growth. Counselors should be accepting, careful listeners, and respect clients’ time by being organized and punctual.
Bracebridge Hall, a Recovery Centers of America Company, has qualified addiction counselors onsite to help those in need of substance abuse rehab counseling. To schedule an assessment or find out more about available treatment options, dial 1-800-RECOVERY.