What do Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors do?

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions.
  • Participate in case conferences or staff meetings.
  • Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.
  • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
  • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
  • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
  • Intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
  • Attend training sessions to increase knowledge and skills.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in client status.
  • Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.
  • Coordinate activities with courts, probation officers, community services, or other post-treatment agencies.
  • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
  • Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.
  • Instruct others in program methods, procedures, or functions.
  • Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.
  • Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
  • Confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.
  • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.

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Necessary Skills

  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Monitoring
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking