What does a Drug and Alcohol Counselor do?

Learn all about Drug and Alcohol Counselor duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A drug and alcohol counselor helps people who are struggling with addiction to overcome their dependencies and live healthy, substance-free lives. Counselors work with individuals and groups to provide support and guidance through the recovery process. They may also offer education on the dangers of substance abuse and help people develop coping and relapse prevention skills.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor job duties include:

  • Conduct initial intake assessments with clients to gather information about their drug and alcohol use, medical history, and treatment goals.
  • Develop individualized treatment plans for clients based on their assessment information and goals.
  • Facilitate group therapy sessions focused on topics such as coping with triggers, managing cravings, and developing healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Provide one-on-one counseling to clients to help them work through personal issues related to their addiction.
  • Make referrals to outside resources and programs as needed, such as 12-step groups or sober living facilities.
  • Conduct regular check-ins with clients to monitor their progress in treatment.
  • Document all client interactions and progress in their file.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings to discuss cases and collaborate with other team members.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of addiction treatment methods and resources.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor Job Requirements

Most states require drug and alcohol counselors to have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. Some states have certification requirements for counselors, and most employers prefer candidates who have experience working in the field of substance abuse.

Drug and Alcohol Counselor Skills

  • Patience
  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Organizational
  • Time management
  • Stress management
  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural competence
  • Assessment

Related: Top Drug and Alcohol Counselor Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor

If you are interested in becoming a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, there are a few things you should know. First, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. You will also need to complete a state-approved counseling program. Once you have completed these requirements, you will need to pass a state-issued exam in order to become licensed.

While having the proper education and licensure is important, it is not the only thing you need to be successful in this field. You must also have strong communication and interpersonal skills. You will be working with people who are struggling with addiction, so it is important that you are able to build trust and rapport with your clients. You must also be able to effectively communicate with other professionals, such as doctors and therapists, in order to coordinate care for your clients.

If you have the necessary education and skills, becoming a Drug and Alcohol Counselor can be a rewarding career. You will help people overcome addiction and improve their lives.

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