The counseling staff in treatment programs will have a range of training treatment professionals.
Since most programs treat drug and alcohol addiction, a majority of addiction training is D&A focused. There are many training resources available to those involved in addiction treatment; they include university degrees, various addiction certification programs (through schools and independent groups), professional societies, community workshops, in-house training, and public seminars. Scholastic achievement is important, but it doesn’t include much hands-on experience. Therefore, competent professionals keep evolving through a variety of training opportunities.
Some counseling staff will be in recovery from their own addictions. Personal recovery gives one valuable, personal, but limited experience. Having undergone recovery doesn’t necessarily give the staff member the complete knowledge, techniques, and experiences that a professional needs to help his or her clients. When working with counseling staff, question, listen, and clarify as you get to know them so that you acquire some sense of their training.
For entry level positions, the addiction treatment field requires counseling staff to be in recovery for at least two years. Other positions may require three to five years. Overall, the years of experience for any one staff member can vary, including high positions like clinical directors. Sometimes, an organization will advertise the combined years of experience of the entire history of their staff, earning them a desirable reputation. The reality could be different. The present staff may have far less experience; therefore, the organization’s reputation may not be justified.
Addictive patterns appear in most individuals. Counseling staff who know their own addictive patterns are more likely to have empathy and to fully understand the experience of addiction and recovery. Every professional has something to offer. Take what you can from all the staff.