Thoughts on Addiction and Counseling in the United States

Addiction to drugs or alcohol can be an on-going nightmare for those affected. It is a horrible disease that leads to compulsive behavior and disrupt a person’s life and their families life’s as well. Addiction not only affects the addict but it also affects the entire family. Addicts tend to make terrible choices while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and thus affecting themselves and their families. According to Dr. Kima Joy Taylor, director of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) Initiative (more…)

By |January 20th, 2016|1 Comment

IC&RC and NAADAC Which one to Choose for your Career


Susbtance abuse conselor certification

International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) can be defined as “IC&RC promotes public protection by setting standards and developing examinations for the credentialing and licensing of prevention, substance use treatment, and recovery professionals” according to the IC&RC website. They provide the information and education needed to pass the exam to become a certified substance abuse professional. The certification process varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and only members on the different boards are able to grant the actual certification. However, there are eight minimum standards to obtain a credential. Directly from their website they are as follows:

  • Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ADC)
  • Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (AADC)
  • Clinical Supervisor (CS)
  • Prevention Specialist (PS)
  • Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
  • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP)
  • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (CCDPD)
  • Peer Recovery (PR)

The Reciprocity process is a little more complicated. This process involves moving to a new jurisdiction and still being able to work as a substance abuse professional. As mentioned above each jurisdiction requires different credentials and therefore you must be sure that you meet all of the credentials that the jurisdiction you are re-locating to. One also has the option of holding an International certificate if you choose to do so. There are different requirements for obtaining this certification but this would allow for you to with International Member Boards. The IC&RC offers certification in the following seven areas:

Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC)
Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
Clinical Supervisor (CS)
Prevention Specialist (PS)
Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP/D)
Peer Recovery (PR)

With the substanceabuse problem on the up rise it would be a great time to get your credentials. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics the need for substance abuse professionals is one of the most in demand professions; 22% to be exact.
In order to obtain your certification you must pass an exam. The IC&RC states “IC&RC examinations are developed for exclusive use of IC&RC member boards to use as part of their jurisdictionally specific certification process.”. This basically means that each exam varies from place to place, as does the costs of the exams) and only the independent Member Boards determine which items on the exam. In addition, there are certain eligibility requirements that you must meet even before you take the exam. It is important to contact the local Member Board in your area if you are interested in becoming certified. There are several resources available for your reference to in order to prepare for the exam. Among them include study guides (many of which are free), practice tests and candidate guides which will help you to understand the above mentioned eight standards. For a list of free resources please visit:


NAADAC Counselor certification

The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (Also known as NAADAC ) is another organization for substance abuse and addiction professionals. According to their website its vision and mission statements are: “NAADAC’s Mission is to lead, unify and empower addiction focused professionals to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development and research.” “NAADAC is the premier global organization of addiction focused professionals who enhance the health and recovery of individuals, families and communities.”

The NAADAC is affiliated with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) and offers two different certification programs.

  • Recovery to Practice (RTP) Certificate
  • Conflict Resolution in Recovery Certificate

The first certification program focuses mainly on furthering your education on recovery amongst other things while the second certification program focuses more on the brain and how it affects the recovery process.
The NAADAC differs than the IC&RC organizations as it is not required to have the two above mentioned certifications. It also offers a membership program in five different categories with those being professional, associate, student, military, and retired. The membership provides multiple resources for those looking to further their education. You do not need to hold the NCC AP certificates to be a member of NAADAC. In addition to seventy hours of free webinars they also offer seventy-five free hours of continuing education as well as discounts on several items. For a full list of the benefits of joing please visit:


Which one to Choose?

The two organizations are extremely different than one another but each offer unique services. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, however, depending on the career path you choose it would best to research which organization will best fit your needs. If you are looking for certain certifications I would recommend the IC&RC but if you are looking to advance your knowledge in the substance abuse field then the NAADAC may be a better fit.
As of March 2013 there was talk about both organizations working together or even possibly merging however, there is no further information on this topic.

By |January 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Substance Abuse Counselor Overview

A substance abuse counselor provides treatment to those in need of treatment whom are suffering from an addiction or are in recovery and trying to stay sober. They are an essential part of society as they provide the necessary needs for addicts. The process of becoming certified according to the U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS) educational requirements range from a high school diploma to a master’s degree, depending on the setting, type of work, state regulations, and level of responsibility. Workers with a high school diploma typically go through a period of on-the-job training. (more…)

By |December 13th, 2015|0 Comments

Pros and Cons of Being a Substance Abuse Counselor

There are certain advantages and disadvantages of becoming a substance abuse counselor.


  • A major advantage is that you probably will not have a hard time finding a job. With the rise of addiction the need for substance abuse counselors is in high demand.

In fact according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics projects a growth rate of 29% for counselors by the year 2022.

  • With people being forced to get health insurance, this will help to increase this growth because most insurance provide coverage for substance abuse counselors. An additional reason for this growth rate is that many states are sending drug offenders to treatment centers rather than prison.
  • (more…)

By |December 12th, 2015|0 Comments

Addiction Counselor 101

The most important part of becoming an addiction counselor is the desire to want to help others in need. The pay is not great, the average being around $38,620 a year according to the statistics. Depending on the facility and education level the pay may be as high as $60,000. For example, if one has a master’s degree he or she might be more qualified for a higher position and salary. The more education in this field the better. Also, applicants must pass a background check for felonies or child abuse. (more…)

By |December 9th, 2015|0 Comments

The Skill Of Listening

It seems obvious that counselors would be good listeners; however, the importance of developing our listening skills is often overlooked because we think that it is easy to be a good listener. Being an active listener is a skill that requires effort and practice. You can’t apply all of your other counseling skills until you become a good listener. Below are some tips to improve your listening skills.Outdoor Date

  • Be in the moment. This is good advice for all of life, but when you are with a client you owe it to them to be 100% focused on them. That means that you have to take all of your personal issues and put them away. During that session, nothing matters outside of that session.
  • Listen not only to what is said, but how it is said. One of the problems with email and text messaging is that you don’t get the tone in which it is said and it can be misinterpreted. If you are completely focused on them during the session, then you shouldn’t have any difficulty picking up the tone in which something is said. (more…)
By |February 14th, 2015|0 Comments

Group Therapy Tips

I previously posted about some of the pros and cons of group counseling. I would like to now share some of my tips for conducting group sessions.Group Therapy for addiction and substance abuse (more…)

By |July 5th, 2014|0 Comments

E-Cigarettes and Recovery

The first time I saw someone puffing on an electronic cigarette in public, I had no idea what they were doing, but now it is becoming more common to see. You are starting to see the ads for electronic cigarettes all over the place. (We even have them on this site.) But, is “vaping” really a good alternative to smoking? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons and how this relates to recovery. (more…)

By |June 6th, 2014|1 Comment

Emotional Core Therapy

I am excited to share with your website my exciting new discovery in the field of psychology and addiction and mental health treatment.

Emotional Therapy CertificationMy Emotional Core Therapy (ECT) approach is the simplest behavioral psychology approach to treating teen and adult addictions because my techniques are all rooted in modern psychology. The psychology field is evolving and getting better every day. What I have done with ECT is utilize the best psychology tools available to get at the root cause of addictions. I will note that my ECT approach is also the simplest approach available to treat depression, anxiety, anger, marital therapy, and most relationship stress. It is very important to treat the underlying causes of addiction so that the patient does not relapse. My ECT approach examines the underlying debilitating emotional stress that is the cause of why someone abuses substances in the first place. (more…)

By |May 25th, 2014|0 Comments

Group Counseling: Pros and Cons

team building, group discussion or therapyGroup therapy is very common in the substance abuse field. As a substance abuse counselor, your chance of doing some group therapy is greater than most other types of counselors. For the first 8 years of my counseling career, I did almost exclusively individual therapy. When I took a job that would require some group therapy, I was a little concerned for many reasons. Over the next several years however, I really began to enjoy the group setting. I believe that in most situations that the ideal would be a combination of individual and group therapy.

From my experience, here are some of the pros and cons of group therapy. (more…)

By |April 29th, 2014|0 Comments