State Credentialing Board Research Project Instructions: Addiction Counselor
The profession of an addiction counselor is popular and urgent in modern American society. Many people suffer from various types of addiction that prevent them from living a normal and healthy. Things like drugs, alcohol, gambling and others can ruin the life and it is impossible to overcome the ruinous weakness without professional help.
People who are working as addiction counselors are in great demand in all the states. There is no need to be a doctor. A bachelor’s degree in social sciences is enough to subscribe to specialized courses for addiction counselors. In Louisiana there is one institution that gives certificates to the representatives of this profession. It is the Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority (ADRA). Telephone: (225) 361-0698
Address: 4919 Jamestown Avenue, Suite 203
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Another organization called the Louisiana Association of Substance Abuse Counselors and Trainers (LASACT) controls the work of addiction counselors and tries to make the process of treatment better. It also helps the counselors to cooperate.
P.O. Box 80235
Baton Rouge, LA 70898-0235
According to the official website of the Association, there are different types of certifications counselors can obtain:
AADC – Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor
ADC – Alcohol Drug Counselor
CAC – Certified Addiction Counselor
CCDP – Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (IC&RC)
CCDP-D – Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (IC&RC)
CCJP – Certified Criminal Justice Professional (IC&RC)
CCS – Certified Clinical Supervisor
CPP – Certified Prevention Professional
CPS – Certified Prevention Specialist
LAC – Licensed Addiction Counselor
LPP – Licensed Prevention Professional
PS – Prevention Specialist (IC&RC)
RAC – Registered Addictions Couselor
RPP – Registered Prevention Professional (1)
On the following web page http://www.attcnetwork.org/find/events/attcevents.asp it is possible to find the calendar with the dates and the descriptions of upcoming events like seminars, conferences, trainings, held by the Association.
The detailed information about the credentialing and licensing processes can be found on the website of Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority: http://www.la-adra.org/index.php/forms-and-payment. An applicant needs to submit the following documents: LAC CAC RAC Application, LAC CAC RAC Renewal Application, Reciprocity Application, Credential Upgrade Application, Pre/Post Approval Application. (Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority)
According to the information from the official website, the meetings of the ADRA Board take place every third Friday of September, November, January, March, May and July.
On this webpage http://www.attcnetwork.org/find/respubs/otherpubs.asp there is a list of publications on the theme. It is necessary to mention another organization called SAMHSA, or The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Online materials can be found on its web page – http://www.samhsa.gov/.
There are some requirements for the applicants for addiction counselor certification. He/she has to be a citizen of the United States and be minimum twenty one year old. A bachelor degree in any field connected to human services is obligatory. An applicant can not be a substance abuser himself/herself at least for the last two years. The minimum of hours for training is 270 and the whole educational process should be approved by the ADRA. 90 hours are given for all theoretical and additional subjects, 6 of them are the course of professional ethics. The biggest part of the education (180 hours) is dedicated specifically to substance abuse treatment. The practical part, devoted to work with patients, is 4000 hours. The process of treatment has to be supervised by a professional from the ADRA or CCS (a Certified Clinical Supervisor). (Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority) The details and forms of application can be downloaded from this resource: http://www.lasact.org/pdf/AADC/AADC%20Packet%2010%20-%2011.pdf.
According to its inner policy, the ADRA does not accept anonymous letters of complaint. Every complaint has to be signed and have factual information that describes the example of ethics’ violation by the counselor. The detailed form of the letter of complaint can be downloaded from the site: http://www.la-adra.org/images/Docs/Complaint_Form.pdf.
It is difficult to work with mentally ill and disabled people; the misunderstanding on minor issues can lead to the progression of the disease and even to fatal consequences. The patient can think that no one might help him to cope with the problems and he/she will fall into depression. It is also necessary to note that mentally ill people with addictions feel very uncomfortable because they can not do anything in their state. That is why their pride and dignity suffers a lot. It is necessary to note that the whole process of treatment is extremely intimate, because the addiction counselor spends the biggest part of time talking to the patient. These are the reasons that led to creation of a code of ethics for certified substance abuse counselors. Among those principles are the following ones: non-discrimination, responsibility, competence, legal and moral standards, privacy, publication credits, confidentiality, client welfare, society obligations and some others. The details and examples can be viewed in the official document considering addiction counselor’s ethics on this web page: http://health.hawaii.gov/substance-abuse/files/2013/05/csac-codeofethics1.pdf.
The ethical violations are usually based on unprofessional conduct of addiction counselors. It is possible to cite several letters of complain, because they can be found on the website of the Association. The first violation considers moral standards of the counselor:
Applicant worked for Agency. Applicant began meeting with Client, who was SMI, for individual counseling sessions. Applicant gave Client a ride home in her car when Client had missed his ride. Applicant acknowledged that she engaged in intimate sexual relations with Client on three occasions in 01/11 and 02/11. Applicant did not consult with anyone regarding her feelings for Client. Following the initiation of a sexually intimate relationship with Client, Applicant continued to meet for individual sessions with Client on at least six occasions. Applicant and Client discussed their personal relationship during some of these sessions. Applicant subsequently decided to terminate the personal relationship and stopped responding to Client’s calls. Client continued to receive services at the Agency and meet with Applicant for individual sessions, Client told Applicant that he was very upset because he believed that Applicant was flirting with a male employee in Client’s presence. In a 06/11 telephone conversation with Client, Applicant discussed her concerns that Client was blackmailing her. Client stated that he wouldn’t tell anyone, but he would not lie if he was asked about their previous intimate relationship. In 07/11, Applicant disclosed her sexual relationship with Client to Agency after Applicant was alerted by another client of a circulating rumor that Applicant and Client had engaged in sexual intercourse. (AzBBHE Adverse Action Tracking Form, p. 1)
As a result of this situation, the applicant was not able to receive the license and work as a counselor.
Another example also has sexual pretext and an applicant was also fired because of unprofessional conduct:
Applicant began counseling a 17-year-old male client (“Client”) in 11/10. Text messages between Applicant and Client appeared inappropriate in context, some were sexual in nature, and some had an appearance that Client was counseling Applicant. In 04/11, during an intervention with Client, Applicant and Client stepped outside of Client’s home. About 40 minutes later, Father interrupted what he thought appeared to be Applicant performing oral sex on Client. Although Applicant denied having sex with Client, Client told police that Applicant performed oral sex on Client on 4 occasions. Applicant told her supervisor that the sexually explicit text messages to Client were “jokes”. Although Applicant represented that she was allowed to transport Client in her car, Applicant’s supervisor indicated that Applicant had been counseled that it was inappropriate for her to drive clients anywhere in her car. (AzBBHE Adverse Action Tracking Form, p. 10)
According to the analyzed material on the subject, it is possible to conclude that the profession of the addiction counselor is urgent and rewarding in modern society. There are official governmental institutions that regulate the sphere of mental health. The work demands high level of moral responsibility and professionalism from the counselors.
Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority. Retrieved from http://www.la-adra.org/
Louisiana Association of Substance Abuse Counselors & Trainers, Inc. Retrieved from www.lasact.org
Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network. Retrieved from http://www.attcnetwork.org/
Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/
Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC). Retrieved from http://health.hawaii.gov/substance-abuse/files/2013/05/csac-codeofethics1.pdf
AzBBHE Adverse Action Tracking Form. Retrieved from http://www.azbbhe.us/investigations/2012advaction.pdf