What is an Addiction Counselor?

A substance abuse counselor is a licensed, educated professional who helps men and women overcome drug and alcohol addiction disorders.

Substance abuse counselors are in the trenches every day fighting for the sobriety of their patients in drug and alcohol treatment facilities across the country, including On Call Treatment in Waltham, Massachusetts. In the context of drug and alcohol addiction, in particular, the main goal of a counselor is to help create a system of support for people who suffer from these conditions. As part of this, they will encourage their patients to change behaviors that impede recovery and provide them the tools to affect their recovery moving forward positively. 

What is An Addiction Counselor?

Who Needs an Addiction Counselor?

The types of people who benefit from an addiction counselor will be attempting to quit or reduce their drug and alcohol use. Addiction counselors also treat other addictions. Substances are not the only thing people get addicted to or abuse. Gambling, shopping, food, money, sex, relationships, and power are also considered addictions labeled as behavioral addictions. Still, most people who need a counselor specializing in addictions will be persons addicted to drugs and alcohol. 

Therapy from addiction counseling is ongoing and is not limited to people in new recovery. For many lifetime recovering addicts and alcoholics have depended on their counselors for emotional support and in-depth therapy that takes long periods to work through.

What Kind of Help Does a Counselor Provide for Addicted Men & Women?

The disease of addiction to substances and behaviors is a complex condition that is less about the substance or behavior and the individual’s emotional and mental health. People with addictions suffer long before discovering relief in a drug, drink, or behavioral. Many have survived physical or sexual abuse, were neglected, or experienced severe trauma at some point in their life. 

These detrimental situations are challenging during childhood which is the most common factor for addicts. Counselors will use therapy to guide the individual through their emotional issues to a healthy position to enable them to cope without drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication- similar to behavioral disorders.

What Qualifies Someone to Be a Substance Abuse Counselor?

An addiction counselor must have completed a master’s degree program that included addiction sciences and counseling in the curriculum and holds a state license to provide mental health therapy. Counselor also works with their patients to assess their situation and determine goals to develop a customized treatment plan appropriate for their needs. An Addiction counselor should be a good listener and be compassionate while directive. Counseling sessions are designed to build mutual trust, which is essential to treating the underlying causes of addiction that stems from trauma and other difficult experiences.

Do Addiction Counselors Specialize in Evidence-Based Therapy?

Yes! Many addiction counselors at On Call Treatment Centers are also cognitive-behavioral therapists, and many hold advanced degrees in psychology or addiction medicine. The types of therapy that are provided by many addiction counselors in our evidence-based rehab programs include: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI) 
  • Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Is a Drug & Alcohol Counselor Allowed to Provide Medication?

A licensed mental health counselor, also called an addiction counselor, is not a medical doctor who can prescribe medicines for mental health. Instead, the psychiatrists at On Call treatment centers provide pharmacotherapy prescriptions and work with the addiction counselors in the patient’s comprehensive therapy plan. Still, addiction counselors can recognize symptoms of many severe mental illnesses and are allowed to d3eclaer an initial diagnosis before being screened by an M.D. or Psy.D.

What Do Mental Health Experts Say About Addiction Counseling?

 The National Institutes of Health state what is necessary for an individual to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction. They empathize with how vital counseling and personalized therapy must be continuously modified.

An individual’s counseling and treatment plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets their changing needs. A patient may require varying services and treatment components during treatment and recovery. In addition to counseling or psychotherapy, a patient may require medication, medical services, and other support. For many patients, a continuing care approach provides the best results, with the treatment and counseling intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs. (NIH)

On-Call Treatment Provides Same Day Admission and Addiction Counseling on Day One of Treatment

We are dedicated to helping our patients get through the emotional and mental challenges that they hold inside. Addiction is hard, but not getting professional counseling and trying to end one is even more difficult. So let us provide you with the therapy you deserve. We have the experience and the expertise to help you. Call now to start now.