Addiction was the only hand he ever held, the only eyes he ever looked out of, and because of that, he never truly saw a sunset or felt a breeze on his face. It would have only taken one person to say something that could have changed the course of his life forever. There are various factors that lead me down a path of wanting to become a Substance Abuse Counselor. I felt this career choice was a way to breath new life into people and that other people’s endings won’t end up being apart of a statistics. However, this course is not black and white; it’s training to help patients with their inner demons and trying to ease the road of recovery for them.
I cannot divulge that every person’s reason for drug use is because they mentally self destructed and the rest followed. Nonetheless, there had to be a moment that they no longer saw a tomorrow for themselves. Mental Health is the priority of Substance Abuse Counselors. They help people that are struggling both mentally and physically, to defeat their addictions.
The route of education for a AOD counselor can be achieved by certification with counseling, gaining clinical practice hours, passing a background check, and undergoing exams for National/State licensing. Evidently, the stipulations are determined by state licensing organizations and governing boards. A two year degree like an Associate’s, is generally what is required to be equipped for positions that are entry-level. As reported by the GetEducated.com website, “An Associate’s degree in Psychology or in Counseling covers: Theories of Counseling; Case Management; Family and Group Counseling; Multicultural Counseling; Psychology “ ( GetEducated.com, 2017).
What is required for a AOD counselor is a minimal of 2 years of both case management and experience, computer skills like microsoft word, and knowledge of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Some straightforward basic qualifications are licensing or certification, a valid driver’s license and dependable transportation. It’s vital to have current certification in CPR and First-Aid, along with receiving a TB shot at the beginning of employment. According to Indeed.com, “ Being bilingual,having flexible hours, experience in inpatient/outpatient settings, and knowledge of program planning/ development” is not mandatory but it is sought after by employers (Indeed.com, 2018).
In other states, there is education that is considered mandatory like a Bachelor’s or an online Master’s degree for the soul purpose that it provides the AOD counselor with more years under their belt. This allows the AOD counselor to be adequately prepared to assess the patient for methods of treatment. Location as far as states go, does play a huge part in how much is required of an education verses what is preferred in order to have greater job opportunities. It is advised by GetEducated.com to distinguish between what work environment for counselling you want to be in, such as clinical or rehabilitation. For an example, “Those who want to work in medical and healthcare-specific environments should consider a concentration in clinical counseling. Those who wish to work in social work environments should consider rehabilitation counseling concentrations” (GetEducated.com, 2017).
On a typical day, the tasks of a AOD counselor include up-keep on clientele files, assessing and writing reports, and working as team with other professionals to determine an appropriate treatment. Treatment for drug abuse is not the only counseling provided, but also focuses on the overall mental health for the patient and their loved ones. In counseling sessions, critical thinking is demonstrated by the counselors to help with the depression and strain caused by addictions. The mission for AOD counselors is to able to ease the road to recovery for patients by helping them return to a normal setting like find employment or support groups. Often, what leads a patient into relapse is the lack of knowledge of addiction, recognizing behavioral conditions, and what actions to take. The nature of an AOD counselor is all about communicating with those whose lives has been touched by addiction.
It is unfortunate that the only time that mental health comes into accountability is when a person is hitting rock bottom. It is irrevocable that we all have the same doubts, emotions and the same destiny in the end, so why is so hard to imagine the person next to us is just as human with their own set of demons. I believe an AOD counselor takes this into consideration, even though not all treatments work the same on every person; it still is a human self destructing. Just some people make it a little more apparent. There are various accommodations or environments for those in need depending on the patient’s situation. From private establishments, state/local facilities, halfway houses, detox centers, to facilities for the juvenile.
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