Addictions Counselor

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Addictions Counselor


Gambling can be very exciting. The thrill of expectation, the risk, the odds, the overwhelming sense of control and satisfaction when you win. Even penny raffles at picnics are exciting for these reasons. And if a penny raffle is thrilling, imagine the rush of winning thousands of dollars from a casino slot machine

Often, people develop cravings for those things that make them feel good. People become addicted to gambling, shopping, as well as alcohol and other drugs, both physically and psychologically. The blissful feeling that comes when you win at the slots and the emotion-dulling effects of alcohol can take over, becoming necessary to daily life. People can become dependent on the addictions and it becomes impossible for them to lead lives free of gambling or drugs. Some people will shop or gamble their way into serious debt, or kill themselves from an excess of drug use.

Addictions counselors are trained to help people who have gone beyond recreation when it comes to substances and habits. They understand that there can be both psychological and physical reasons for addiction. Instead of making their clients feel ashamed or weak, addictions counselors address their clients" addictive personalities, and try and help them identify and deal with the addictions, in an effort to get their habits under control.

Addictions counselors work with government agencies, private companies and non-profit organizations who work to promote health, prevent addictions and initiate interventions and treatment. They can be found counseling in addiction programs, women"s and men"s shelters, correctional facilities, health services, schools and community centers. They meet regularly with clients. After identifying the issue at hand, counselors focus on the clients" strengths and weaknesses to advise, support and encourage the recovery process. Often this includes getting their clients into a twelve-step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Along with regular sessions with their clients, addictions counselors prepare reports on each client"s progress, consult with other social and health care workers about clients, and keep up to date with developments in treatment techniques. Addictions counseling can be a stressful and frustrating job, but luckily one with lots of opportunities to positively influence others.
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Grand Canyon University
Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
Programs Offered:
  • M.S. in Addiction Counseling
  • B.S. in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
  • B.S. in Behavioral Health Science - Trauma
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  Interests and Skills  
Addictions counselors should have a genuine interest in helping people understand the root of their problems. They must be mature, organized and have a professional attitude. They are creative problem solvers who are good at communicating orally and in writing, and analyzing information and behaviors, to know whether or not clients are telling them the whole story. Addictions counselors should be sensitive to everyone, incuding those people with backgrounds, cultures and beliefs that differ from theirs. They should be honest, trustworthy individuals, who are willing to work with other social workers and counselors in an effort to help their client.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assess client strengths, problem areas, and degree of dependence
  • Plan treatment based on research and client history
  • Make referrals to other social work agencies if necessary
  • Host community information sessions
  • Document client progress
  • Work with organizations, institutions and communities to develop and implement programs
  • A typical day for an addictions counselor will involve a lot of listening. Each day will be spent in an office, listening to and analyzing client history, developing strategies to deal with the addiction, as well as identifying and addressing underlying issues. They may meet with family members of the clients, as well as other social workers, correctional facility workers and counselors, to determine the best course of action in the treatment of the addiction. The job is spent indoors, at a desk, with the chance to meet many types of people.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Addictions counselors are found anywhere there may be people battling dependencies. They can be found in residential and out-patient detox treatment centers, group homes, overnight shelters, out-patient centers, schools or community-based agencies.They may have a private practice, or work within a government agency. Addictions counselors work in offices, because of the nature of their work--counselors require private places to discuss difficult issues with their clients. Their work day may include evening, weekend, and holiday shifts, depending on their employment situation.

  Long Term Career Potential  
If they no longer want to work as addictions counselors, these skilled individuals may choose to get into family, rehabilitation or bereavement counseling. They may choose to head up their own private practices, or apply for supervisory or senior positions with clinics or departments. There is always teaching, writing self-help books, or presenting talks to schools, community groups and correctional facilities.

  Educational Paths  
In order to work as an addictions counselor it is a good idea to become a member of a professional organization. This will indicate your dedication to your work, and create a sense of trust between you and your clients. In order to become a member in one of these organizations, you need to have a bachelor"s degree in any subject, a master"s degree in psychology, social work or addiction studies, and then complete two years of supervised, post-degree work in addictions therapy and counseling. You can practice as an addiction counselor without joining a professional organization, but in that case, you may choose to work in the public sector, as it will be harder for you to find clients in the private sphere.



Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Grand Canyon University
Does the Human Mind Fascinate You? Study Psychology at Grand Canyon University - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees Available!
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Liberty University
Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
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Post University Online
Experience an education that helps you realize your potential in a way that fits you best. Request more information about Post University today.
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Saint Leo University
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The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, regionally accredited institution with more than 4,285 students at campuses across the country and online. 

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