There is no such thing as a perfect counselor. Even if you were a perfect addictions counselor, you would still have clients who relapse. You are going to make some mistakes along the way. The good news is that in most situations these mistakes are not catastrophic and they can help us grow and become better counselors. As counselors we tell our clients that relapse is part of the recovery process and we help them learn from these experiences, so that they will be better able to avoid relapse in the future. Mistakes are part of our learning process. While we may never attain perfection, it is important that we master our trade. You have people who are trusting you with perhaps their biggest problem in life. Each client is ultimately responsible for their own success or failure, but you have an opportunity to influence change in someone that could dramatically improve their quality of life and the quality of life of their family and friends. While this is an incredible opportunity, it can also feel like an overwhelming responsibility. Listed below are several ways to become a better counselor (more…)
In addition to the education required to get certified as an addictions counselor, there are also educational requirements to maintain your certification. Each state varies in their requirements, but most credentials need to be renewed every two years. You will need to complete a certain number of hours or CEUs (Continuing Education Units) during this period. (e.g., in Ohio you must complete 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years to maintain your credential.) You will need CEU’s for every credential that you have, however classes may apply to more than one credential (e.g., a class on co-occurring disorders will likely apply to your substance abuse certification as well as your co-occurring disorders credential.)
Sometimes the requirements to maintain your credentials may seem to be a nuisance, but here are just a few reasons that continuing education is important to you and to the profession of addiction treatment. (more…)
Having worked as a substance abuse counselor for over 16 years, I have worked for, worked with and supervised a lot of counselors. I have seen some who were excellent counselors that found their jobs challenging and rewarding. I have also seen counselors who got discouraged, burned out and even regretted ever getting into the field. So before you invest time and money, be sure you have what it takes to be a quality counselor and to be happy doing it. I have listed some qualities that I believe are important, if you are planning on becoming an addictions counselor, or if you are in a position to hire addiction counselors.