Students who are preparing to specialize as addiction counselors are expected to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to address a wide range of issues in the context of addiction counseling, treatment, and prevention programs, as well as in a more broad mental health counseling context. Counselor education programs with a specialty area in addiction counseling must document where each of the lettered standards listed below is covered in the curriculum.

    1. history and development of addiction counseling
    2. theories and models of addiction related to substance use as well as behavioral and process addictions
    3. principles and philosophies of addiction-related self-help
    4. principles, models, and documentation formats of biopsychosocial case conceptualization and treatment planning
    5. neurological, behavioral, psychological, physical, and social effects of psychoactive substances and addictive disorders on the user and significant others
    6. psychological tests and assessments specific to addiction counseling
    1. roles and settings of addiction counselors
    2. potential for addictive and substance use disorders to mimic and/or co-occur with a variety of medical and psychological disorders
    3. factors that increase the likelihood for a person, community, or group to be at risk for or resilient to psychoactive substance use disorders
    4. regulatory processes and substance abuse policy relative to service delivery opportunities in addiction counseling
    5. importance of vocation, family, social networks, and community systems in the addiction treatment and recovery process
    6. role of wellness and spirituality in the addiction recovery process
    7. culturally and developmentally relevant education programs that raise awareness and support addiction and substance abuse prevention and the recovery process
    8. classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications for appropriate medical referral and consultation
    9. diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and the use of current diagnostic classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
    10. cultural factors relevant to addiction and addictive behavior
    11. professional organizations, preparation standards, and credentials relevant to the practice of addiction counseling
    12. legal and ethical considerations specific to addiction counseling
    13. record keeping, third party reimbursement, and other practice and management considerations in addiction counseling
    1. screening, assessment, and testing for addiction, including diagnostic interviews, mental status examination, symptom inventories, and psychoeducational and personality assessments
    2. assessment of biopsychosocial and spiritual history relevant to addiction
    3. assessment for symptoms of psychoactive substance toxicity, intoxication, and withdrawal
    4. techniques and interventions related to substance abuse and other addictions
    5. strategies for reducing the persisting negative effects of substance use, abuse, dependence, and addictive disorders
    6. strategies for helping clients identify the effects of addiction on life problems and the effects of continued harmful use or abuse, and the benefits of a life without addiction
    7. evaluating and identifying individualized strategies and treatment modalities relative to clients’ stage of dependence, change, or recovery
    8. strategies for interfacing with the legal system and working with court referred clients

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