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What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

So, just what is a substance abuse counselor? What does he or she do, and how does it apply to you? Can you really trust a stranger to help you with such personal issues as substance abuse?

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors can help give you the tools to recover successfully.

As a potential patient of a substance abuse counselor, you have the right to want to know just what you’re getting yourself into by checking into treatment. You also have the right to be skeptical about opening up to a stranger about your personal issues, especially those related to problems with substance abuse.

However, you can rest assured; there are many great substance abuse counselors right in your area who are educated and trained in their field, and their number one goal is helping their patients to deal with substance abuse.

What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

A substance abuse counselor is someone who’s been trained specifically to understand and help deal with all the issues that come with substance abuse. They may work in hospitals, correctional facilities, mental health institutions, treatment centers, or they may work alone or with a group of peers in a private practice.

What Education and Training Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Need?

It varies from state to state, but there is no “easy route” when it comes to being a substance abuse counselor. All must be educated and trained in their field before they are able to see actual patients on their own.

At a minimum, education may be two years in length (resulting in an associate degree) to a four-or-more-year bachelor’s or graduate degree. In addition to general college classes, courses should include such subjects as psychology, sociology, research, ethics, learning basic and advanced counseling skills, and dealing with crisis intervention.

In addition to education, licensing and certification is recommended (but generally not required) in order for a substance abuse counselor to start practicing. There are three levels of certification, each requiring many hours of coursework and successful completion of a written exam.

Finally, substance abuse counselors must log a period (usually two years or a certain number of hours) of supervised counseling, or equivalent experience in a related field.

What Qualities Should a Substance Abuse Counselor Possess?

Education and experience are the foundation, but there are also some important qualities that a substance abuse counselor should posses. First and foremost is the desire to make a difference in their patients’ lives. A counselor should also be trustworthy and confident; these qualities will help patients to open up to their counselors, and will make them more receptive to what the counselor has to offer.Substance Abuse Counselor Provides Support

Do You Need a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Now that you know more about what is a substance abuse counselor, you can start to think about what they can really do to help you. And to answer the question of why you need a substance abuse counselor, it’s important to understand that counseling is an essential part of successful treatment of substance abuse. And finding a great counselor can make all the difference.

A substance abuse counselor can help you to deal with your substance abuse issues head-on, while learning how to make healthier choices for the future. People are rarely able to kick their substance abuse habits on their own, so don’t spend any more time worrying about placing your trust in a counselor. There are plenty of educated and well-trained professionals at your disposal, so take a positive step in your treatment by reaching out to a substance abuse counselor in your area.