The Problem with Substance Abuse in Texas
In the state of Texas there are currently two levels of titles that one can practice as a substance abuse counselor. Those two levels are the internship level and the second is to be once a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor(LCDC). During the first level, the individual is referred to as a counselor intern(CI) and can gain experience to become fully licensed. The second level is when the individual has the necessary experience to become and apply to become a LCDC. For both levels of experience there are requirements a person must first meet. At the CI level the requirements consist of: passing a criminal background check, having a high school diploma or GED, must have at least 270 hours of Chemical Dependency training, 135 hours must be specific to substance abuse and treatment, 135 hours of clinical counseling, 300 hours of practicum working within the 12 core functions:screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, reports and record keeping, consultation, sign the ethical standard agreement, and complete the application to become a counselor intern.
The requirements to become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor are: passing of the CI requirements, must have a minimum of an Associates degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling from a an accredited university, 4,000 hours of supervised work experience under the supervision of an LCDC with a current license in Texas, experience must be within the 12 core functions, passing of the Texas written Chemical Dependency Counselor Examination, passing of the Texas oral Chemical Dependency Counselor Examination, two letters of reference from LCDC’s, present an acceptable case Examination to the board, and complete the LCDC application (Humanservicesedu.org, 2019).
The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors(NAADAC), represents over 100,000 addiction counselors, educators, and other professionals within the United States. It was founded in 1972, NAADAC promotes excellence by advocating for clients, families and communities. LCDC’s have a code of ethics that have been divided under major headings and standards. The sections are:
- I. The counseling relationship
- II. Evaluation, assessment, and Interpretation of client data
- III. Confidentiality/privileged communication and privacy
- IV. Professional responsibility
- V. Working in a culturally diverse world
- VI. Workplace standards
- VII. Supervision and consultation
- VIII. Resolving ethical issues
- IX. Communication and published works
- X. Policy and political involvement
The American Psychological Association(APA), believes that there are fourteen qualities and actions of effective therapist. They are based on theory, policy, and research which can lead therapist toward improvement. The fourteen qualities are:
- Effective therapist have a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills, (verbal fluency, interpersonal perception, affective modulation and expressiveness, warmth and acceptance, empathy, and focus on other).
- Clients of effective therapist feel understood, they trust their therapist and believe that the therapist can help them.
- Effective therapist are able o form a working alliance.
- Effective therapist are able to provide an explanation for the clients distress.
- Can effectively provide a treatment plan that is consistent for the client.
- The therapist is influential, persuasive, and convincing.
- The therapist can monitor the clients progress in an authentic way.
- The effective therapist is flexible.
- Effective therapist does not avoid difficult situations in therapy.
- Effective therapist is able to communicate hope and optimism.
- Effective therapist are aware of their clients characteristics and context.
- Effective therapist are aware of their own psychological process.
- Effective therapist are aware of the best research evidence based that is related to their client.
- Effective therapist is regularly seeing to improve continuously.
As an intern I have learn and grown in many areas to be an effective counselor. It is very important for a counselor/therapist to uphold their ethical values. We are helping people with real life situations and have to set our biases aside to be effective with the client. I personally believe that I am able to build positive relationships with the clients that I have encountered. Build trust, hope, and follow the American Counseling Association ethics and code of conduct.
I currently have a client who is a sixteen year old and has an addiction problem with marijuana. We have only met once for the intake process and he was referred to me by his mother. I believe that this client is going to be a challenge because of his age and the severity of the addiction. According to his mother she has taken him to rehab for his addiction but he has yet to be successful. My site supervisor and I believe that he first must complete a 12 step program before seeking therapy. His mother insist that he receives therapy because she feels that she has tried every other option with her son. I do believe that this client is going to be a challenge for me because I have never worked with a client with an addiction. As an intern I do believe that I have some strengths that are going to help me during this journey with my new client. Some of the strengths that I currently have are positive attitude, build strong relationships, adhere to the code of conduct, confidentiality, empathy, and make the client feel welcomed. Challenges that I may encounter are if the client has relapses and is not consistent with the therapy.
My perspective on substance abuse, addiction, and substance abusers is that, I believe it all started with a choice and somewhere ended up becoming an addiction. An addiction that is uncontrollable but yet possible to overcome. I believe that addicts and abusers do not want to be that way. That somewhere in their minds they wish they can just stop and get their life together. I was once a person who believed that substance abusers and addicts are they way they are because they decided that for their lives. I realized that was not the case when I decided to study social work for my undergrad. I believe that my perception that I have now will not affect my ability to be effective with a client. If I was to encounter a sense of challenges of biases toward the client, I would simply consult with my supervisor about the situation or simply refer the client out.
Reflecting on what I have learned on Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors is that their ethics, morals, values, and learning experience are very similar to a Licensed Professional Counselor. The learning and educational requirements are pretty much the same for any other therapist. Very long and intense training required to work with individuals with substance abuse issues and additions. I believe that it takes a special kind of person to work with this population. It is not an area of concentration that I would want to work with. I believe it would be very difficult having to see clients have relapse or not show up for months for therapy because of the addiction. Another area that is very important in counseling in general is being culturally competent. Myself as a person of color, if something is said wrongly it can be taken negatively by the client and end in bad terms. As we know no counselor is very fully culturally competent. However, we are always encouraged to grow in this area.
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