The road to recovery for those who suffer from an addiction requires trained professional addictions counsellors who are empathetic, open-minded and have an understanding of how substance abuse affects human behavior.
What are the duties of an Addictions Worker?
Work with clients who are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or who have eating disorders
Assess how severe a client’s dependence is and their and their readiness/willingness to change
Develop treatment plans
Provide information about available services and programs and make the appropriate referrals
Conduct therapy group and information sessions
Provide counselling to family members through all stages of recovery
An addictions worker should possess excellent communication skills, as they are critical to information gathering or counseling. Those wishing to enter this field must also have the ability to leave judgments and expectations behind; it’s not about fixing people, it’s about giving them the dignity and respect they deserve.
Depending on the place and type of employment, a university degree or post-secondary diploma plus related work experience or training may be acceptable.
What are the Typical Courses in an Addiction Worker Program?
By attending an addiction worker school, you will gain a solid understanding of how substance abuse affects human behavior and how to successfully handle each unique situation. You will also develop the ability to assess your clients’ needs and help them restore their wellbeing as well as encouraging and supporting them in all functions of daily living activities to improve their quality of life.
In general, programs include training in:
Understanding the nature of addictions
Anatomy and physiology
Relapse prevention planning
Intake, assessment, motivational interviewing training
Case management and professional ethics training
Types of Addictions and Specialization Opportunities
Training for a career as an addictions worker or substance abuse counselor may allow you to specialize in a particular type of addiction and interacting with a diverse group of people. There are many types of addiction; addicts are not just the people you see on the street addicted to street or prescription drugs; they are also people who may appear to be functioning well and living a normal life but are addicted to alcohol, gambling, shopping, eating or playing video games.
Employment Outlook for Addiction and Substance Abuse Counselors
As governments recognize that the need for treatment centres is increasing, they are funding more addiction programs and services to provide easier access to treatment, so the demand for addictions counselors, addictions workers and community service workers will continue to grow.
Addictions Counsellors and Addictions Workers find employment in:
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