Addiction counselors have a demanding career that has no “regular hours” or “typical days”.
In fact, being an addiction counselor requires certain professional skills and personality traits like few other jobs. It’s a difficult career choice but also an immensely rewarding one.
If you are looking for an addiction counselor or are considering it as a career, here are several important traits that every counselor should have:
- Good listener: The art of any conversation begins with listening. Addiction counselors must have this trait as they will be meeting with patients all day. They have to not only hear what their patients are saying, but they also have to listen to them. Their listening builds rapport and trust. It also helps to build a relationship with the patient.
- Empathy: Addiction counselors need to understand and share the feeling of another. They should be kind and have a desire to help their patients. They should not be harshly judgmental. Empathetic counselors will make deep connections with their patients who will, in turn, open up about their addictions and struggles. Many addiction counselors can empathize because they have been through it themselves. They may even be in recovery, too!
- High ethical standards: Successful addiction counselors hold themselves to a high code of ethics and standards. They have professional licenses and certifications and belong to organizations that assist with continuing education. *** Some counselors are also addicted but are in recovery and not using drugs or alcohol. They “practice what they preach”.
- Flexibility: Addiction counselors must have been able to bounce back after an adverse situation. They have to readjust to changes and keep going in the face of adversity. It’s essential everything is not under their control. Patients will relapse and have many struggles. Not being emotionally tied to every client is crucial. This trait is developed over time as the counselor learns to empower each client to rise above addiction.
- Cultural sensitivity: Addiction counselors must take time to understand the cultural backgrounds of their clients. They should have well-developed cultural competencies in order to interact with patients of different ethnicities and backgrounds.
As you can see, this is not a “9-to-5 job”. It is a position requiring more than forty hours a week and competency in a number of areas. But, most importantly, it requires an individual who listens and has empathy for people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Concerted Care has a staff of trained, licensed, and experienced drug addiction, counselors. If you or someone you know needs substance abuse treatment, consult one of our experienced counselors. The Concerted Care Group of Central Baltimore, MD, and Brooklyn, MD, has a compassionate behavioral health team that includes therapists, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric and medical providers a nurse practitioner, and a psychiatrist. Services include individual, group, and family therapy for adults and adolescents. Group therapy and psychiatric services are available for adults.
Contact us at (833) CCG-LIVE to make an appointment.
*** Go to The National Association for Addiction Professionals website for a list of licenses and certifications for drug addiction counselors.