Substance Abuse Counseling: Definitions, Requirements and Finding a Counselor

It is important for counselors to have a general awareness of these transference and countertransference issues and to be as knowledgeable as possible about their own areas of emotional vulnerability and unresolved emotional issues. This is especially important for counselors who are themselves survivors of childhood abuse or neglect. Even after you’ve completed initial treatment, ongoing treatment and support can help prevent a relapse. Follow-up care can include periodic appointments with your counselor, continuing in a self-help program or attending a regular group session. The goal of detoxification, also called “detox” or withdrawal therapy, is to enable you to stop taking the addicting drug as quickly and safely as possible.

Substance abuse is defined as the categories classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) as Substance-Related Disorders and Substance-Induced Disorders. These disorders include the active use and/or dependency on any mood-altering substance. Substances include alcohol, sedatives, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, opiods, caffeine, nicotine, and prescription drugs, as well as legal drugs. Similar addiction processes to those of substance abuse include experiences such as eating, gambling, sex, and work addiction. While similarities of behavior exist across all types of substance abuse, individuals cannot be categorized, defined, and treated in relation only to their substance abuse problem.

Step and Community Programs

Counselors need to review these models to develop a conceptual position regarding causation upon which he/she can make consistent therapeutic assumptions and decisions to guide counseling practice. The client can be assisted to differentiate feeling good from feeling sexual desire. The counselor can explain that the “attractive” aspects of their relationship, such as trust and feeling safe, are qualities that clients will want to look for in their personal relationships. Clients’ feelings about themselves might also affect the relationship. Many survivors have enormous shame and low self-esteem and feel responsible and guilt-ridden about the abuse. The counselor must be aware of and prepared for possible responses of this sort and must work to bring them to clients, attention for discussion.

substance abuse counseling

Information provided by NIDA is not a substitute for professional medical care or legal consultation. If a counselor cannot work with a particular client, he should refer the client to a counselor who is better suited to that individual’s needs. Such transfer must be done after discussion with the client, and any issues that arise as a result of the transfer (such as the client’s possible feelings of rejection) should be addressed in therapy, both before and after the move.

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor

We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs. The goal is to support each person’s self-efficacy so that they feel motivated and capable of achieving their goals.

Substance abuse counselors will work one-on-one with clients to develop goals and strategies for pursuing sobriety — all in a compassionate and confidential environment. People who choose a career in addiction counseling can work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and rehabilitation centers to halfway houses, prisons and private practices. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with Child Abuse and Neglect Issues.

Currently, the FDA has three drugs approved for the treatment of opioid addiction and three for the treatment of alcohol addiction. Individual therapy can help when you have depression, bipolar disorder, or another significant mental health condition that requires treatment in its own right, separate from your substance use disorder. The confidential and anonymous resource for persons seeking treatment for mental and substance use disorders in the United States and its territories.

The counselor must be trustworthy and provide a safe relational context that–in
contrast to the client’s past experience–presents a unique opportunity for healing. Substance abuse counselors, also known as addiction counselors, are licensed professionals trained in psychology, human behavior, chemical dependency and therapeutic methods. These therapists help people with behavioral disorders (primarily substance use) by talking through the complexities and causes of their addiction.

For more information on each state’s specific criteria for substance abuse counselors, visit the National Board for Certified Counselors. They can be expected to
function well and provide effective treatment only if their agency’s leadership gives them the
appropriate support. Such support includes recognition for and appreciation of the role of the
counselor and the stresses it entails. The agency’s leadership should strive to impart a sense of vision to
staff members that communicates how important their work is as part of the larger effort to
break the cycle of abuse and neglect and their impact on society.

An individual with a substance abuse problem is unique in his/her history, pattern of use and abuse, and counseling and related treatment needs. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 9.2 million Americans suffer from co-occurring disorders (e.g. mental health conditions) alongside a substance use disorder. Substance abuse treatment at The Recovery Village includes a dual diagnosis process to identify co-occurring disorders so that mental health counseling can be integrated accordingly. For many clients, the two diagnoses (substance abuse and mental health disorder) are deeply intertwined, requiring simultaneous treatment. Substance abuse counselors must also be effective at educating clients’ families about addiction disorders and help them to develop strategies to cope with their loved one’s addiction.