What does a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor 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.

Jobs Roles

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