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What Makes a Good Addiction Counselor?


A good counselor will help their client both recognize and overcome the factors that led to the addiction in the first place, resulting in a successful recovery.

Seeking aid from a licensed addiction counselor or therapist is a crucial step to take when fighting addiction. With the help of addiction professionals, a patient will be able not only to overcome their addiction but also to totally transform their lives. A good counselor will help their client both recognize and overcome the factors that led to the addiction in the first place, resulting in a successful path to recovery.

Since there are so many options out there, here are a few qualities to look for when trying to find an addiction treatment counselor:

  1. A good counselor has the appropriate education. Counselors are not ‘one-size-fits-all’ – there are many types of therapists for many types of problems. Counselors can have a degree in addiction counseling, meeting the academic requirements to help you. A counselor can have specialized training in what’s called “Alcohol and Other Drug treatment” and become a certified mental health professional. These counselors receive training that is specific to overcoming addictions, such as alcohol addiction or addictions to drugs, having to meet education requirements that will be paramount for your success. You can verify the successful completion of a counselor’s certification by checking with your state’s regulation agency.
  2. A good counselor has appropriate experience in addiction counseling. Because there are so many counselors specializing in different areas, it is important to make sure that you are seeing a counselor who has past clinical experience that is relevant to you. This will allow your counselor to more personally guide you down the road to recovery. They will know the ins and outs of your specific struggles, and have tried and true solutions to your problems and tips for making the experience of full, long-term recovery easier.
  3. A good counselor makes you feel comfortable. Much of the process of overcoming things such as addiction and substance abuse disorders is uncomfortable. You will have to go places mentally that are painful, hard, or awkward and deal with issues that you don’t necessarily want to deal with. You will have to face your inner-most turmoil, and it is best to do that with a substance abuse counselor or addiction counselor that makes you feel comfortable, depending on what you most need support with. You should be able to talk about anything that you feel you might need to. Confidentiality and great communication skills are other important facets of this. You should be comfortable talking about any and all personal issues or thoughts in addiction counseling and be confident that your counselor will not repeat the information to other clients in addiction recovery or outsiders.
  4. A good counselor is non-judgmental. A counselor is a healthcare professional, not a friend. They should be able to maintain the necessary boundaries, based on regulatory requirements, to view your problems in an unprejudiced way. A good counselor will help you figure out your own truths throughout the treatment process and help you see through the fog of addiction, working through the issues that pop up along the way. A non-judgmental counselor knows that the process of addiction therapy and recovery is not easy; they can empathize and offer real support when it is most crucial.
  5. A good counselor involves the patient’s community. In order to achieve the most success, a person recovering from addiction needs a full community of support surrounding them at all times. Addiction often leads a person to shut out their loved ones and push their friends away. A good counselor will encourage you to mend those relationships, and aid you in the process of tearing down the walls that were built up over the years of addiction. Creating meaningful connections with the people around you will build up your village of support, making the process of recovery easier.
  6. A good counselor is confident. This is arguably the most important quality when it comes to selecting a counselor to help you on your journey. They should be confident in their ability to help you overcome your addiction through addiction counseling, and you should also be confident in that ability. Finding a counselor that is a good fit for you is a personal decision, but once you find someone that you connect with, their help will be invaluable.

Fighting addiction and substance use disorders is a long-term process; one could even say that it is a life-long process. It is not something that any person should try to face alone. Rather, you should find a good counselor who will offer understanding, patience, and commitment.

Having a dedicated counselor, who is focused solely on you and your concerns during regular sessions, will make the process of recovery a little easier. The help of a counselor will give you the strength, courage, and confidence to fight your addictions head-on and beat them for good.

Related: Choosing a Sober Living Situation

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