Professional readiness is an ongoing process. It should not be understood as something you get done one time and you don’t look at it again. Professional readiness is directly linked to continuing education.
Understanding Diverse Cultures
A competent substance abuse counselor is constantly learning about:
- Information and resources in regards to diverse cultures, lifestyles, gender and age.
- Information and resources to provide quality care to people with special needs and disabilities.
- How culture, lifestyle, gender, etc. influence behavior.
- How culture, lifestyle, and values influence substance use.
- Assessment and intervention methods that are appropriate to culture and gender.
- Counseling methods that match the needs of people from multicultural backgrounds, and people with disabilities.
- Legislation related to human, civil, and client’s rights.
Self-awareness is Important
If we want to become competent substance abuse counselors, we must be open to evaluation, supervision, and change. In order to grow both personally and professionally, we need to:
- Be aware of our personal and professional strengths and limitations.
- Be aware of cultural, ethnic, and gender biases.
- Look for resources available for continuing education.
- Make a commitment to continuing professional education.
- Know the benefits of self-assessment, clinical supervision, and consultation with other professionals.
- Find ways to enhance our personal and professional growth.
Substance Abuse Prevention
Addictions professionals are not only involved with treatment and recovery. We also have the obligation to participate in prevention programs.
Substance abuse treatment and substance abuse prevention are two different fields. Research shows that for every dollar spent on prevention, 7 to 18 dollars are saved on treatment and recovery.
What we need to learn about substance abuse prevention includes:
- Research-based prevention models and strategies.
- The relationship between prevention and treatment.
- Environmental strategies and prevention campaigns.
- Benefits of working with community coalitions.
I recommend this book Substance Abuse Prevention: The Intersection of Science and Practice, by Julie Hogan et al. I am currently reading this book for my class on substance abuse prevention.
Setting-specific Policies and Procedures
It is our responsibility to learn, understand, and apply our agency’s (the place in which we are currently working) policies and procedures to handle crisis and dangerous situations, such as safety measures for clients and self.