What to Look for in an Addiction Counselor

What to Look for in an Addiction Counselor

Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn't do a good job of empathizing with those in recovery.

While many people may view you as someone who lacks willpower, this isn't the attitude you want your addiction counselor to have.

Instead, you want someone who understands that addiction is a disease that changes your brain.

This is only the beginning of what you should expect from your addiction counselor though.

Here are a few of the other things you should consider when looking for someone to work with.

Available Addiction Counselors

Defining the Role of an Addiction Counselor

One of the first things you need to know when you're ready to look for an addiction counselor to work with is what their role in your recovery will be.

Simply put, they're there to help you work on your addiction's symptoms through behavioral changes, developing recovery skills, and improving your self-motivation and self-worth.

When you start working with a therapist your goal should be to maintain your sobriety.

You'll also need to address any behaviors that have stemmed from your substance abuse.

Lifestyle rehabilitation is also an important goal when working with a counselor.

They're there to help you create a healthy support system.

However, you need to be self-motivated to seek support from others (e.g., treatment professionals, sponsors, recovering peers, or family members) too.

Training Requirements

You want to make sure that you choose an addiction counselor who's been properly trained.

This means finding someone who has a master's degree in the human services field.

At a minimum, you want them to have at least three years of training in addiction counseling and demonstrate familiarity with the various modes of recovery (e.g., 12-step programs, SMART).

Their Background

Although it may surprise you, many addiction counselors are in recovery themselves.

Others have had close experience with the addiction field.

This experience is beneficial because it improves upon the knowledge they have regarding the addiction cycle.

It also makes them more inclined to empathize with their patients.

If you choose to work with an addiction counselor who's in recovery themselves, make sure that they have at least 5 years of active recovery behind them.

Trauma-Informed Training

When you've faced a trauma that's led to your addiction you'll want to connect with a trauma-based addiction counselor.

These therapists hold special certification in trauma treatment (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy) alongside their traditional training (e.g., EMDR, EFT, NLP, hypnosis).

It's recommended that you choose someone who has experience working with the type of trauma you've experienced (e.g., sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse).

Doing so will enable them to be more effective in navigating and guiding you through the healing process.

Attitude Towards Therapy

When you first meet your addiction counselor you'll not only want to ensure that they act professionally but you'll also want to observe whether they have tact and a constructive attitude.

These attitudes are important because they help promote positive growth.

Of course, you'll also want them to be accepting, listen carefully and show that they respect you by being punctual.


Overcomers Counseling has qualified addiction counselors available to help you.

Take a moment to look around our site and check out all that we have to offer.

Then schedule an appointment with us.

We look forward to walking alongside you on your journey to recovery.




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March 29th, 2023