Addiction Counselor: A Case Study

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In the ever-changing field of substance abuse treatment, the 21st-century addiction counselor is a picture of versatility. With the possibility of practicing in a huge variety of settings, whether outpatient or inpatient, today’s addiction counselor is expected to do much more than merely counsel. Add to that the roles of interventionist, mediator, change agent, advocate, facilitator, adviser, consultant, and more, all while likely acting as one unit of an integrative whole depending on locale and client needs. An effective addiction counselor must be ready to use an integrated approach to meet a variety of client needs on an individual or a group basis, all while filling that most important role of client ally. Real recovery from a substance…show more content…
Direct effect strategies such as motivational interviewing (MI), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), teaching mindfulness and relaxation techniques, and pharmacotherapy are evidence-based strategies for the discontinuation of a substance of abuse (Stevens et al., 2013, pp. 191-195). More subtle broad spectrum strategies are intended for clients who require a holistic approach due to extenuating circumstances which hinder individual treatment (pp. 195-198). Harm reduction is an alternative to abstinence, arguably more realistic in some cases such as heroine dependence or sex addiction, and also makes an attempt to minimize risky behavior (using needles, sexual contact, etc.) which cannot be completely eliminated. The teaching of coping skills and life skills, vocational readiness, and involvement in support groups are all broad spectrum strategies for clients who find it necessary to make positive life changes in order to have sustained recovery. It is estimated that of the 17.5 million adult Americans afflicted with a serious mental disorder, approximately 23% of them also have a substance dependency (, 2014). Furthermore, in the span of six years, the percentage of patients treated for addiction issues who were also chemical dependent increased from 12% to 16%. Therefore, the addiction counselor must have the capacity to recognize and treat clients with co-occurring disorders while…show more content…
Many treatment facilities invite the family into some phase of the client’s treatment plan as a matter of policy, and addiction counselors are expected pull double-duty as marriage and parental counselors. If the client is the only addict in his or her household, there are evidence-based strategies which incorporate the family into treatment. Contracting with family members about abstinence, involving them in monitoring the client’s substance use and providing positive social reinforcement for alternative behaviors are all proven plans for ensuring that the family acts as an asset to recovery rather than a liability (Lebow, 2014, pp. 180-181). Of course, the client is likely to be on bad terms with the family, so implementing such strategies might require some skillful mediation by the counselor with client and family to ensure good communication, mutual benevolence, and a clear understanding of expectations; otherwise, such strategies might backfire by adding to any suspicion and resentment that is already present within the client’s

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