Becoming an addiction treatment professional requires more than a degree in Psychology or a PhD in Psychiatry.  Treating substance abuse disorders involves skill sets that include understanding the addiction disease process, being a good listener, and having the ability to develop intervention strategies and treat a wide variety of behavioral issues.

It is known in this profession that on average 4-6 people are adversely affected for every individual who abuses alcohol and drugs, including prescription medications.  The counselor needs to understand that their work can impact families, employers and friends of those suffering from addiction.

According to Dr. Errol Rodriguez, PhD, a Substance Abuse Counselor and educator, the profession of substance abuse counseling can be very gratifying as dramatic changes in a person’s life can be achieved, even though relapse is always possible.   In a recent video interview, Dr. Rodriquez states that the profession of substance abuse counseling is in great demand and universities have come to recognize the need for specialized training.  He shares some insights he wishes he had before entering the profession, and discusses important attributes of effective addiction counselors.

In the same video, Gerry Schmidt, Consultant for the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), explains the importance of mentoring those who enter the profession, and the Association is an ideal environment for that process to develop.  Schmidt also expounds on the skill sets and knowledge needed to be an effective substance abuse counselor, including fully understanding substance abuse disorders and knowing what to expect from a client.

There are a wide variety of training programs and degrees available for the person on track to becoming a practitioner in addiction counseling., who provided this video, is a good place to find resources to learn more about the profession.  NAADAC’s website also has a wealth of information.

Click here for the link to the article with video featuring Gerry Schmidt and Dr. Errol Rodriquez.