Licensed Substance Abuse Counselors work in a variety of settings. They are employed in hospitals, outpatient treatment facilities, and community mental health centers. Initial licensure and certification is obtained through the state board in the state of residence. National certification through IC&RC is received via reciprocity when the state requirements are met. State requirements vary for different certifications, so the applicant should ensure he is meeting those needed for the reciprocal national certification. IC&RC offers several certifications for substance abuse counselors. These include Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (IC&RC, n.d.).
The IC&RC requirements follow. The applicant will have worked directly with alcohol or drug addicted clients for at least 6,000 hours over no more than three years. He will have at least 300 hours in the ICRC core functions with twenty-five supervised work hours in each of the twelve ICRC core functions. Education must include six hours of ethics and four hours of HIV/AIDS (IC&RC, n.d.).
The substance abuse counselor generally leads group therapy sessions, provides individual therapy sessions for the addicted client as well as for the client’s family and friends. Counselors should be proficient in the basic competencies learned within educational programs. In order to meet the needs of the client and help them overcome their addictions, effective communication is imperative. Without it, the therapy would be completely ineffective. Counselors often work together with a group of clients. Ability to communicate and work as a team is essential. Clients come from different backgrounds and ethnicities. The counselor may not be familiar with the problems presented by a particular client. This is partially offset by working well with coworkers, but research and problem-solving skills will be very helpful. At times, the client in crisis will need immediate help. The counselor’s ability to think critically and problem-solve will serve the client most effectively. Confidentiality is also very important. Not only is it ethical, it is also necessary to maintain the trust of the client.
- IC&RC. (n.d.). About IC&RC. Retrieved from http://internationalcredentialing.org/