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Addictions Counselor Exam – Group Counseling
- Group type
- Purpose of the group
- Group size
- Member selection criteria
- Group goals
- Behavioral ground rules for participating
- Criteria and methods for termination or graduation from group
Check out the LCDC online study guide and prepare effectively for the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam (ADC).
Treatment Planning – Addiction Counselor Competencies
Professional and Ethical Standards for Substance Abuse Counselors – LCDC Texas
Directly from the Texas Administrative Code, follow the link
Professional and Ethical Standards for All License Holders
Substance Abuse Counseling – The Profession
The substance abuse counseling profession is a vocation or occupation that requires advanced education and training. Twenty years ago, treatment was provided by people in recovery from alcohol and other drug (AOD) addictions, who would only use their own experiences to help others. The problem with this is that recovering individuals do not know how to treat different issues that co-occur with addiction such as poly-drug use and mental disorders. Although recovering individuals are able to relate to others dealing with addictions, mainly to the same drug of choice, they do not have the training and the skills to understand the differences among drugs of abuse, their effects on the brain and the body, and the believes and attitudes of people from diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds.
The substance abuse prevention field is in its early stages, i.e., it is just developing as a discipline. The goal is to create standards of training and practice so that practitioners are able to handle the complexity of substance abuse and everything that comes with it. Part of the training for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) prevention professionals, is to explore their own attitudes about ATOD. It is not surprising to find practitioners who debate over terminology such as recovered vs. recovering addict, or the 12-Steps and the Big Book vs. religion and the bible.
Concepts such as use, abuse, misuse, dependence, and addiction vary from person to person. Substance abuse prevention professionals need to keep in mind that use and abuse of substances is not determined by their own experiences, but by standard definitions. For instance, substance use is the ingestion of alcohol or other drugs (AOD) without experiencing any negative consequences. Substance misuse is when a person experiences negative consequences from the use of AOD, or when the use of them is illegal. Substance abuse is the continued use of AOD in spite of negative consequences.
Addiction, also called dependence, is the compulsive use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) regardless of the consequences.
Substance abuse prevention strategies used in the past have been ineffective. Strategies such as Just Say No, Prohibition, and the illegalization of drugs that used to be legal, have not given the results expected. The criminalization of people who suffer from addiction is probably one of the least effective strategies.
Research in substance abuse prevention is helping develop effective theories that include risk and protective factors and resiliency, just to mention a few.
Reference: Substance Abuse Prevention – Julie A. Hogan
Why Assessment Skills are Important
Assessment skills are important because substance abuse counselors should be able to understand the basics of current diagnostic assessment tools and instruments. A competent LCDC should be capable of writing appropriate and professional descriptions of behaviors in regards to addictions. In order to gather relevant information about the client’s substance abuse history, counselors need to practice effective interviewing techniques; the interviews should include the client and other sources of information about the client, such as family members, friends, and coworkers.
A substance abuse counselor should be able to use these skills and explain to the client why and how the assessment takes place. In doing so, the client would have a better understanding of his/her own treatment process.
One of the most important things to remember about a client’s assessment is confidentiality. The assessment is the first opportunity for both the client and the counselor to interact with each other, therefore, confidentiality and professional work ethics should begin here.
Screening and assessment are two different tools. Screening is a process by which we can identify a potential problem with the client’s alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. This tool allows us to determine whether a client is eligible for a particular treatment program.
Assessment is a tool used to confirm the existence of a problem. This allows counselors to identify the nature of the problem and therefore suggest options for treatment. During the assessment process we can identify the client’s strengths and weaknesses, and his/her needs in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Assessment instruments must be reliable and valid. Reliability means that consistent results are obtained under consistent conditions. Reliable assessment instrument provide consistent results when the assessment is repeated under consistent conditions.
Validity is the degree to which a test really measures what we want to measure, and not something else.
Nota bene: Reliability does not imply validity.