Drug addiction has undoubtedly destroyed the lives of individuals and families alike. There are so many addictive drugs today and what this means is that people have more options; dangerous ones albeit. Cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, marijuana; these are just some of the harmful substances that can be obtained quite easily provided one is financially capable.
Alcohol which is obviously legal is also responsible for destroying millions of lives, not just in the country but all over the world as well. Substance abuse affects people from across the board: young and old; rich and poor; famous and unknown.
In particular, an increasing number of young people are falling into addiction as some of these drugs are now readily available in institutions of learning. When a person starts using drugs at a young age; what they are doing is wasting a chance to set a solid foundation. This means that their entire future is placed at risk and more so if nothing is done to counteract the habit.
The good news is that drug addiction and alcoholism can be treated, thus giving the affected individual a second chance at life. Of course it is almost impossible for an addict to treat himself or herself, and this is where addiction therapists come in.
The work of an addiction therapist is to help addicts come out of addiction and stay out. These are basically counselors who work with addicts in rehab facilities and aftercare programs to help them understand how they can fight the urge to use drugs and how to handle triggers. Through counseling, an addiction therapist can make a great deal of difference in the lives of people who probably had lost hope and resigned to drug use as an escape from their troubles.
In order to practice as an addiction therapist, you will have to be certified. There are quite a number of requirements that you will need to fulfill in order to get into this field of practice, the most important one being sobriety.
This means that you cannot be a user of any addictive substances; this is quite logical because one cannot purport to offer counseling to people who are struggling with addiction when they too have a related problem. The following are some other requirements:
You will have to provide between 4000 and 6000 hours of supervised service in an addiction treatment center or program. In most cases this will take between 2 and 3 years.
In addition to the hours of service mentioned you will also need to provide up to 300 hours of direct supervisory service in an addiction treatment setting. These hours should be spread out to the various areas of addiction treatment.
Undertake up to 250 hours of educational training in the fields of treatment planning, counseling, community, family and client education, clinical evaluation, referral, documentation, service coordination and ethics.
Sit for a written addiction exam and achieve the required pass mark after which you will pay your Certified Addictions Therapist license fee.
Once you attain this certification you can seek employment in various substance abuse treatment settings as a counselor. As a full time addictions counselor you can earn a living and get various benefits depending on where you work. You can also venture into the practice as an independent counselor.
All the mentioned requirements are necessary for you to be certified as an addiction therapist but that is not all you need. In order to be effective in this line of work you must possess people skills; simply put, you need to know how to work with all kinds of people.
Patience will also prove very helpful because addiction treatment is really not a one or two-day affair. You will have to address underlying issues among addicts in order to really understand why they got into addiction in the first place.
This is never an easy thing to do since very few addicts ever open up willingly. In addition, you have to craft a working treatment therapy for all the addicts under your care, which of course will require significant time dedication to see through.
For addicts, there are certain tips that one needs to follow when searching for a certified addiction therapist. These are basically guiding points that will help you find the most qualified specialist to help you out of addiction.
First and foremost the therapist should have a clear treatment plan. This treatment plan should be informed by the nature of the addiction and the individual in question. If you are seeking treatment for a loved one then you should have them accompany you when you make your first visit to the therapist so that they can undergo a psychological evaluation.
Empathy is a necessity among all addiction therapists; the counselor needs to be able to genuinely put himself or herself in your shoes. This is important because it enables them to fully understand where you as the addict are coming from; the challenges that you have faced and the fears that you hold.
A therapist who can do this is better placed to provide you with genuine help because they fully understand the gravity of the situation at hand. Such counselors are also very caring and as a result, they will make it their duty to see to it that you get better.
In addition to being empathetic, a good therapist should also be firm enough to hold the addict accountable. This is means that if you happen to deviate from the set goals and treatment plan, for example by relapsing, then he or she should be able to openly tell you that you were wrong as opposed to giving you a pass. A therapist should not turn a blind eye to wrongdoing on your part just to make you feel comfortable; it is their job to ensure that you stick to the plan to the very end.