How to Choose an Addiction Counselor

June 3, 2012

Oftentimes, when our loved ones hit rock bottom, it is us – the families, friends and loved ones – that pave the way for treatment at certain facilities. Undoubtedly, getting treatment at any respectable facility with any competent counselor can be helpful, but choosing a counselor carefully, much like you would choose any other professional is hugely important. When discussing addiction and substance abuse, we’re talking about life or death situations. Addicts are more likely to die both because of the drug and the emotional problems that drug abuse can cause or may be caused by. Further, many addicts can bounce from facility to facility simply because they do not connect with the message.

There is simply no way to guarantee the best counselor with the limited time and attention you will receive during the interview process, but here are a few rules of thumb when choosing a counselor:

  • What qualifications does the counselor have and what is their commitment to further education? Someone’s educational background is important, but the field of addiction is constantly changing. Someone who is well aware of the trends in addiction and is dedicated to furthering their education can be the sign of a counselor who wishes to better themselves.
  • Empathy is an important part of the counselorclient relationship as it sets the stage for communication in an open and honest manner.
  • Clarity. A counselor that can clearly describe the goals and objectives of their treatment plan can be very valuable. Knowledge is power and treatment is self-directed. It is therefore very important that the addict have a clear and honest picture of how their treatment will proceed.
  • Receptive to questioning. A counselor should be willing to take and address any questions you may have about the treatment – to the degree that it can be discussed during the interview period. Their answers to your questions can give some useful insight into their way of thinking.

In the end there is no best counselor. We simply must strive to find the best counselor for our particular situation. Taking the time to understand the counselor and their facility, beyond the façade they present, can help your loved one get the help they need more quickly.

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The Academy for Addiction Professionals is a leading addiction professional training center and an approved education provider for both the Florida Certification Board (FCB) and NAADAC. We offer interactive in-class (South Florida Location) and online training courses for the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC), Certified Behavioral Health Technician (CBHT) and Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) levels of certification as well as Continuing Education and Professional Development programs.