The Human Service Career of Addiction Counseling has inspired me to learn all I can to help people, and has given me the opportunity to make an honest living. I was in desperate need of a behavior and attitude change about my life, for I have received the information from others in the field and made a conscious decision to help others who have a desire for change and a new way of life. Substance abuse counselors advise people who have alcoholism or other types of addiction, behavioral problems, or help the client recover from addiction by providing treatment and support.
Substance abuse counselors and behavior disorder counselors do the following: Help people in treatment centers, jails, institutions with mental and physical, addiction or problem behavior. In these settings they assist people develop treatment goals and plans. They help people with family problems. Help people with behavioral and attitude to recover from their addiction. Work with families about addiction or behavioral disorders, and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems.
Refer people to other resources or services, such as job placement services and support groups. The support groups of Narcotic’s Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are just a couple of positive resources addicts in recovery attend. There are a number of career centers located in metropolitan areas which help people with job placement or assist them to obtain the skills to get a job. Addiction counselors also work with other health and mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, and nurses.
They work in places that employ many types of healthcare and mental health professionals. Addiction treatment counselors may work in teams to best develop a treatment plan and coordinate the suggested care for a patient. Counselors work with those who have been ordered by a judge to receive treatment for addiction problems. Counselors work in a wide variety of settings; mental health centers, prisons, probation or parole agencies and juvenile detention facilities. They also work in halfway houses, detox centers, or in employee assistance programs.
EAP’s are mental health programs provided by some companies to help employees deal with personal problems. Addiction counselors work in residential centers, where clients live in the facility for thirty days, sixty days, six months, one year, and eighteen month long term program. They work with clients in outpatient treatment centers or programs. Addiction counselors also work in private practice, where they work alone or with other professionals. They have sometimes have large caseloads, and do not always have enough counselors to meet the demand for their services.
They may have to work together in some situations to deal with agitated clients, which can be very stressful. Addiction counselors work full time, and overtime in inpatient facilities, you may have to work evenings, nights, or weekends. Education requirements are from a high school diploma to a master’s degree, depending on where you’re working and state regulation. Counselors with a license are able to do more with their clients, such as private one-on-one counseling sessions. If this is what you’re interested in you need to reach your state’s education requirements.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors in private practice must be license. Private practice, requires a master’s degree and 2,000 to 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Counselors must pass a state-recognized exam and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state’s regulating board can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors. The licensure or certification criteria for substance abuse and behavioral counselors outside of private practice may vary from state to state.
The state you’re working in may or may not require a specific degree, but many require applicants to pass an exam. Addiction Counselor’s with less education, such as a high school diploma, may be required to go through a period of on the job training. Training prepares counselors how to respond to a crisis situation, and interact with families and people with addictions. The wages for substance abuse behavioral disorder counselors in the industries employing the most counselors were as follows: Hospitals, state, local.
Private –$ 45,000, Local Government –$ 45,000, Individual and family services – $ 37,000, Outpatient mental health and substances abuse centers – $ 35,000 and Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities – $33,570. The median is annual wage of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $ 38,120 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $ 24,690 and the top 10 percent earned more than $ 60,400. Employment of addiction counselors is expected to grow more than average for all occupations.
Growth is expected as more people seek treatment for their addictions or other behaviors and drug offenders are increasingly being sentenced to treatment rather than jail time. The court system has recognized that people committing crimes related to drugs are less likely to offend again if they get treatment for addiction. As the population grows, the number of individuals entering treatment is expected to increase as well. This is expected to cause a continued demand for counselors in mental health centers, halfway houses, detox centers, and treatment programs.
Important qualities for this kind of work are as follows: Compassion; Counselors often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients. Listening skills; Good listening skills are essential for substance abuse counselors, they need to give their full attention to a client to be able to understand that client’s problem and values. Patients; Counselors must be able to remain calm when working with all types of clients, including those who may be distressed or angry.
People skills; Counselors must be able to work with different types of people. They spend most of their time working directly with clients or other professionals and must be able to develop and nature good relationships. Speaking skills; Counselors need to be able to communicate with clients effectively. They must express ideas and information in a way that their clients easily understand. Job prospects are excellent for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, particularly for those with specialized training or education.
Employers often have difficulty recruiting workers with the proper educational requirements and experience in working with addiction. Although, many workers leave the field after a few years and jobs need to be replaced. Those interested in entering this field should do some searching and find the right place suitable to your liking so you can enjoy helping others while earning a responsible living. References Occupational outlook handbook (2012-13 ed, pp, 192-194). Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorders Counselors. Baton Rouge, LA: Claitor’s Pub. Division.
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