Substance Abuse Counselor
Katina M. Brown
HHS 497: Health and Human Services Capstone
June 6, 2011
Substance abuse is a prevalent and persistent issue within many families and communities. People who have substance abuse problems and want to get help will need the assistance of a substance abuse counselor. A substance abuse counselor is an individual who counsels a person who is suffering from the problem of drug or alcohol addiction. The counselor will not only be able to assist the person with maintaining their sobriety, but they will also be able to help the person’s family with the recovery of their loved one or family member. In order to help the client as ...view middle of the document...
After completing this internship and passing a written exam, a substance abuse counselor intern may seek full certification as a substance abuse counselor after completing the equivalent of three (3) years full time, supervised paid or volunteer experience as a substance abuse counselor. This experience may be full-time or part-time but must amount to 6000 hours of practice not to be earned in less than thirty-six (36) calendar months. He/she must also complete 270 clock hours of Board approved education/training (2011).
In addition to the many hours of formal education and on the job training, substance abuse counselors must also know that it is very important that they not become emotionally involved with their clients. If this were to happen, it would cause many problems for the counselor as well as the client. Substance abuse counselors must know how to empathize with their clients. This is very important for the development of the client/counselor relationship. The client must completely trust the counselor in order for he or she to receive the help that they really need. Kartha states that in order for the patient to recover completely from his addiction, it is important that he opens up to the counselor about his problems (2010). The patient must feel comfortable enough with the counselor to share very intimate feelings that could lead to the cause of the substance abuse.
Training and experience is a very important aspect of becoming a licensed substance abuse counselor. According to Harris et al, “employers expect trained human service practitioners to understand how the health and human service works. Students must, therefore, gain skills in coordinating the services a client receives while being able to help the same client access the services of other agencies as the need arises” (2004). This is especially true of substance abuse counselors.
The National Organization of Human Services is an organization whose vision is to see individuals and communities transformed through human services. They oversee the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE). According to their website, “the council is a national board committed to improving the quality, consistency, and relevance of human service education programs through national standards and accreditation of human service degree programs, research, and publications” (2011). The CSHSE recognizes that human services professionals including substance abuse counselors have a responsibility to receive the best possible education needed in order to help people to the best of their abilities. To reinforce this method, the council has established standards of education for those seeking a degree in any human services field that must be followed by higher education schools in order for the school to be considered accredited. These standards include:
1. The curriculum shall include the historical development of human services.