A rehabilitation therapist at a center for alcohol and drug treatment is known as a substance abuse counselor or addiction counselor. They offer drug and alcohol counseling to patients and informational sessions for their families. Being trained mental health professionals, they are responsible for identifying and assessing the type of addiction and mapping the road to recovery for an addict. Their main work responsibilities are to treat mental and emotional disorders, reestablish healthy behaviors and offer coping strategies in a situation of risk of relapse.
In developed countries, with minimum qualifications of high school and graduate degree, the 4 steps to becoming a substance abuse counselor are-
- A. Earn an accredited counseling degree
- B. Work as a counselor and acquire supervised clinical practice hours
- C. Pass a background check
- D. Pass a national or state licensing or certification exam post-degree
A bachelor’s degree in psychology /counseling may equip an individual with fundamental skills and knowledge associated with this field. However, a specialized master’s degree in counseling may be preferred by some governing and regulating bodies.
Therefore, after completion of college degrees, clearing the certified exams and gaining minimum clinical practice hours or supervised internship, it can take a significant amount of time to become a certified counselor. Also, a Doctoral degree can be acquired in this field as an indicator of competence and the highest professional qualification.
There are online accredited counseling degrees for anyone with social work or educational background looking for a career change or advance in the profession. A counselor at alcohol treatment centers can also undergo special training in different areas of counseling to continue learning and evolving professionally.
Counseling is a fast-growing sector and the demand for qualified counselors is rising significantly. Apart from educational qualifications, an individual looking ahead at a career in counseling should possess the following characteristics- passionate about helping others, good interpersonal and communication skills, critical thinking and reasoning to handle difficult situations, research, and analytical skills for studying data.
They may find employment in different settings and environments like – groups, homes, rehabilitation centers, private or government hospitals, prisons, juvenile homes, clinics and work with a varied demographic of people suffering from addiction and related problems. They have to collaborate and work closely with other professionals and specialists (social workers, psychiatrists/ psychologists, nurses, doctors, school counselors) for the betterment of the patient. Working hours can be flexible to accommodate the needs of a patient depending upon a counselor’s place of work. Drug and alcohol treatment in india is a challenging, dynamic field to work in with hard-earned yet very fulfilling results.