Free Essay on Addiction Counselor Competencies

Published: 2023-01-23
Free Essay on Addiction Counselor Competencies
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Counseling Drug abuse
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 460 words
4 min read

Addiction counselors possess various skills and knowledge that enable them to work in their various environments. Chasek, Dinsmore, Tillman, & Hof (2015) affirmed that there is a need for competent addiction counselors because of the evolution of effective treatment paradigms. Nielson (2016) emphasized that patient/problem conceptualization is a significant addiction counselor competency. There are various addiction professional's competencies based on transdisciplinary foundations. They include the following:

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  • Understanding addiction - U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2006) indicated that addiction counselors ought to understand the various theories of addiction and other problems that surround substance abuse. Also, the author affirmed that addiction counselors have to be competent in identifying social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics of substance abuse. The other competency is being able to describe the behavioral, psychological, physical health, and social effects of substance abuse. Another competency under this knowledge is being able to differentiate substance use disorders and mental health disorders.
  • Treatment knowledge - here, U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2006) asserted that addiction counselors have to be competent in identifying the scientific models of treatment of substance abuse problems. Another competency is understanding the importance of family, community, and social networks in the recovery process. Another competency is linking research with clinical practice as well as knowing the value interdisciplinary approach to addiction treatment.
  • Application to practice - here, U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2006) affirmed that the first competency is determining diagnostic criteria and describe treatment across the continuum. Other competencies include finding strategies to minimize negative effects of substance abuse, be familiar with pharmacological treatments of substance abuse, help clients access insurance, and understanding the use of methods to measure substance abuse treatment.
  • Professional readiness - U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2006) articulated that one competency her is to apply cultural needs of a patient into clinical practice, comprehend self-awareness during treatment, and adhere to ethical and behavioral standards of helping addiction clients. Other competencies include comprehending the use of self-assessment in clinical practice, use research to establish treatment programs as well as understand and apply procedures and policies when handling safety with clients.


Chasek, C.L., Dinsmore, J.A., Tillman, D.R., & Hof, D.D. (2015). Addiction Counseling Practice Competencies and Curriculum in CACREP-Accredited Programs. VISTAS Online. Retrieved from

Nielson E. M. (2016). Substance Abuse Counselors' Recovery Status and Self-Schemas: Preliminary Implications for Empirically Supported Treatment Implementation. Journal of drug and alcohol research, 5, 235982. doi:10.4303/jdar/235982

U.S Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice. Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 21. Retrieved from

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