The Addiction Counselor Explained

What the addiction counselor looks for first are the root causes of an addiction. That’s because addiction and substance abuse have serious impacts on not only the individual but the friends, family and community related to the individual. In fact, most people who encounter an addict feel the effects in one way or another. Addicts usually experience “triggers” that encourage, subtly or overtly, the addictive behavior. An addiction counselor identifies these psychological issues and helps the addict work through the emotional behaviors associated with them. They also work to rid the addict of the chemical part of the addiction.

Educational Requirements

Most addiction counselors get a master’s degree in conjunction with their undergraduate education. En route, they might take classes in psychology, sociology, counseling strategies, substance abuse and clinical assessment.

Much of the education falls into the following three areas:

  1. Handling team interactions: A team approach is used when treating addicts. Teams include medical personnel and social workers. Strong problem-solving skills as well as the ability to view the big picture from the vantage point of each team member are necessary because this can only enhance the treatment program.
  2. Maintaining emotional balance: The key is learning how to draw the line between expressing empathy for the addict and his/her family while remaining somewhat distanced from their lives.  Striking that balance will result in effective counseling and prevent burnout.
  3. Communicating effectively: Often, addicts do not want help. This means the counselors have to be able to skillfully encourage responses, listen empathetically to what is and is not being said while creating the best treatment approach.


Useful certifications for Florida addiction counselors include:

RMHC: Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

CATS: Certified Addiction Counselor

CAC: Certified Addiction Counselor

CAS: Certified Addiction Specialist

CAP: Certified Addiction Professional

An Addiction Counselor’s Responsibilities

Addiction counseling uses behavior modification and coping techniques in conjunction with any pharmaceutical remedies prescribed to break an addiction.

Tools that addiction counselors employ include screening methods, life skills training and coping strategies. All these align with the objective of establishing realistic recovery goals.

Counselors also help an addict deal with familial, relationship, employment and physical issues related to the addiction. They know it is crucial to uncover and manage the underlying problems that may be contributing to drug use.

Overall, counselors equip the patient with the tools and training designed to break the addiction once and for all. Addiction, after all, is a treatable disease. With the proper treatment, the patient can learn to live a healthy and productive life.

An addiction counselor can truly be a life saver for someone struggling from substance abuse. A combination of education, empathy and commitment is what is needed for a counselor in this field. At Recovery First, our counselors have several decades of experience treating individuals struggling with addiction.  Call the number at the top of your screen now for an immediate, no-cost consultation, or fill out the insurance verification form that appears to the right on every page if you need help beating your addiction.

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