Substance Abuse Counselor

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor primarily supports and..

Substance Abuse Counselor

What does a Substance Abuse Counselor do?

Median Pay $41,070
Growth Rate 22%
Citation Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor primarily supports and assists persons with behavioral problems such as drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, gambling or other potential addictions or issues. They help their clients correct and modify their behavior. In addition they may continue to give support during their client’s treatment and recovery in group counseling, prevention programs and/or individually.

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor

substance abuse counselor leading group therapy

Most employers want a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, though it becoming more frequent that most hiring managers are requiring a master’s degree. In addition several years supervised work experience is normally expected as well. Degrees in behavioral sciences, psychology, and social sciences are most common and can be earned at a state college or university. You must get licensed to work in private practice in all states. Check with you state to see what the requirements are.

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor must be knowledgable in counseling, therapy, psychology and sociology. They need to have a knowledge of methods and principles for training design, instruction and teaching for individual or group dynamics and curriculum. He or she needs to know how to assess the client’s needs, evaluation of satisfaction, and meeting relevant counseling standards. You must have the ability to actively listen, give full attention to a client’s needs, and communicate with them in a way that is easily understood. The ability to be socially perceptive is important as well in order to understand a patient’s reaction and why they behave as they do.

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Job Description of a Substance Abuse Counselors

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor helps individuals overcome addictions or dependencies on drugs, alcohol, gambling, or any other behavioral problem that interferes with everyday activities. They help t by counseling the person in either a group session, one-on-one or in an intervention situations.

They research treatment plans through studies of patient history, clinical experience or even with the assistance of those in other professional health careers such as mental health, social workers, or doctors. They also offer and give orientation programs and/or sessions for groups of individuals as preventative measures or support. They may collect urine samples to analyze and determine the degree of drug dependency of a person.

A substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor plans a course of treatment for a client’s behavioral problems. They track progress during treatment, in follow-up programs, and after a patient is discharged. They keep careful records and accurate reports of progress, history, service provided, and other relevant information pertinent in their clients recovery process. They also perform an interview process to determine if a client is suitable for a specific program and attend staff meetings and/or case conferences.

Substance abuse counselors need monitoring abilities for corrective action when needed for individuals that are treating. They need to be able to make decisions and quick judgements concerning patient care to include, benefits, treatment or cost for their clients. They need a solid command of english grammar in order to give information through documentation, recording, or other written reports. Resolving problems from a grievance, complaint, or other conflict is also necessary for this job.

Most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor’s work in community health centers, prisons, mental health centers or private practice usually full time.


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