An addictions counselor helps individuals who suffer from some form of addiction. For example, the addiction could be to drugs, gaming or alcohol. The counselor works with patients in group or one-on-one sessions. In addition to assisting patients in recovery, an addiction counselor also helps their families who have been affected by the patients’ actions. The median salary for an addictions counselor was $37,030 in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The goal of an addictions counselor is to assist individuals with addictions become well. The counselor seeks to find the source of their patients’ problems, or reasons for their disease. Then an addictions counselor helps them to change destructive behaviors and learn new coping skills.
An addictions counselor must conduct weekly or daily counseling sessions either with one patient or a group of patients. Besides, working with patients, the counselor has to keep in contact with other medical professionals, such as patients’ probation officers, physicians and family members.
To provide patient care, an addictions counselor must interview her patients. Then she creates patient treatment plans. These plans are based on the mental and physical conditions, patients’ history, research and the counselor’s clinical experience. A counselor constantly evaluates treatment and makes changes when necessary.
Paperwork is included with this position. A counselor must write legal documents to present in court or be included in legal proceedings. Also, an addictions counselor creates, updates and maintains patients’ records.
To work in the field requires a master’s degree and licensure. An accredited master’s program includes approximately 60 semester hours with supervised clinical counseling experience.
An addictions counselor can have an associate’s degree or certificate to work, according to I Seek Careers. However, she also holds a four-year degree in a related field, like social work.
An addictions counselor must have excellent communication skills. More specifically, the counselor needs the ability to listen, comprehend and ask questions. In addition, a counselor has to convey thoughts clearly.
Also, he needs the ability to work with people and follow ethics associated with addictions counseling. A counselor should gain trust and respect from patients.
The position requires an addictions counselor to work independently and be part of a team.