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How to Prepare and What to Study for the Oral Exam for Alcohol and Drug Counselors

Hello Dear Readers!

I have received many questions lately about the oral examination so I decided to post some study tips for you.

Candidates need to prepare a case study and respond to each of the following questions, using the global criteria from each of the 12 Core Functions for alcohol and drug counselors, and providing examples.

  1. Screening ‐ Describe the purpose of screening and the processes used with the client.
  2. Intake ‐ Describe the elements of intake and how the intake process was completed in your client’s case.
  3. Orientation ‐ Describe the process of orienting your client about your services.
  4. Assessment ‐ Describe the methods and procedures used to assess your client, and explain the results of those assessments.
  5. Treatment Planning ‐ Identify the components of treatment planning and describe the treatment planning process that occurred between you and your client.
  6. Counseling ‐ Identify your counseling approaches and theories, and thoroughly describe how you applied them to your client.
  7. Case Management ‐ Describe the purpose of case management and how it applied to this client.
  8. Crisis Intervention ‐ Give an example of a crisis that occurred in this case and explain how you responded to it. If no crisis occurred, give an example of a crisis using another case.
  9. Client Education ‐ What is the purpose of client education and describe how you provided it in this case.
  10. Referral ‐ Describe the process of referral and explain how it was used in this case.
  11. Report and Record Keeping ‐ Describe the report and record keeping process and how they were used in this case.
  12. Consultation with Other Professionals ‐ Describe the purpose of, the rationale for and the results of consultations necessary in this case. If no consultation occurred, provide an example from another case.

My Recommendation

Learn more about the global criteria for each of the 12 Core Functions here. I recommend that you create a “fake client” and write his/her case, addressing each one of the 12 Core Functions. This will help you:

  • Learn and remember the global criteria for each core function.
  • Learn and understand how the 12 core functions work with real clients.
  • Prepare examples for the questions you will be asked during the oral examination.

Also, I recommend that you dress professionally for your oral exam. Think of it as an interview…you would not go to a professional job interview wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops, right? Same thing with the oral examination. Members of the certifying board will evaluate your competence as a counselor, and this includes not only your knowledge but also your professional appearance. This is an evaluation of who you are as a professional counselor.

I hope this helps, and good luck to you all!

Samantha DN

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