Addiction counselling is a profession that seeks to assist willing chemical and substance addicts into recovery. This profession operates on the belief that addiction does not discriminate among variables such as age, social status, or gender. Instead, anyone is susceptible to drug addiction so long as they have been exposed to the necessitating factors. One thing that I love about addiction counselling is that it is a profession that serves people from diverse backgrounds. It enhances the ability to facilitate positive interaction with different clients, which is essential in developing a relationship that encourages an environment that enables long-term changes of behaviour. In this profession, I know that I can enjoy working with people in a way that encourages patient interaction and healing process. I believe that through this process I will be able to reflect on how my personal qualities can be effective in accomplishing the goal of facilitating amicable patient recovery processes.
I believe that addiction-counseling profession will provide a platform that enables effective functioning in a team-oriented environment. Addiction counselling is a field that I would consider for my future. This is because from my experience and studies in the field of psychology, I have a passion for helping people with addiction-related problems. Through professional interventions, I am confident that I will be an equal contributor in promoting and enhancing their recovery through structured counselling sessions. I believe that with effective internship programs and sufficient training I will have a platform of exercising my skills and expertise in the profession of addiction counselling.
Introduction to the interview
Name: Thomas Harris
Agency: Northwest Counseling and Guidance Clinic
Number of years in the field: 12 years
Question 1: The field of psychology is characterized by a plethora of professions. What would you say were the motivating factors in your decision to be in the Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP)?
I would say that I was mainly motivated by my childhood and past experiences. I come from a broken family, and the separation between my father and my mother was necessitated by addiction to drugs. From what I have discovered in recent times, my parents met while they were attending a party and according to my aunt, they found unity and companion whenever they were engaged in the consumption of cocaine. This joy was to last for a very short time considering that once my siblings and I were born, they had to attend to their family responsibilities such as providing for our basic needs. I would say that this aspect provide very difficult for my parents because they were finding it relatively challenging to develop effective strategies for balancing between their need to engage in drug consumption and the requirement of providing for the children. With this level of negligence, there were blames and shift of responsibilities. My siblings and I were on the verge of dropping out of school until a neighbour, who must have been following our situation keenly, reported the matter to social services.
My parents were court mandated to attend therapy and rehabilitation session as my siblings, and I was redistributed to foster families. I cannot say that the foster families were unhelpful considering that they provide better opportunities for us to excel in life and realize our dreams. It is based on this experience that I decided to pursue a career that would not only help in addressing my needs but also provide a platform for those seeking help from their addiction problems to seek help without the feeling of isolation or shame. I believe that through CDP I am participating in bringing truth to the spotlight and creating a community of support.
Question 2: That is very inspiring. When engaging with a client what are some of the assessment points that you consider?
Addiction counselling clients often suffer from a variety of addiction problems, and therefore it may be relatively difficult to have a unanimous approach for addressing their problems. However, factors such as the age of onset, frequency, and duration of use, patterns of administration, influences, precipitators, and client’s own perception of chemical dependence may be effective in initiating the process. One of the aspects that I have found to be effective when assessing and evaluating a client is focusing on the nature and severity of the chemical dependency problem. This aspect helps in the description of how the problem may be related to other life areas. The approach will be effective in developing effective self-help involvement strategies while focusing on a patient’s prior treatment history. An inclusive approach will address the underlying issues in other life areas such as legal involvement, daily living skills, spirituality, medical health, domestic violence, employment, education, and leisure among other areas of importance.
Question 3: In the process of executing your responsibilities what do you consider your greatest challenges and how have you been able to address them?
Chemical dependency personnel will always encounter inconsistent behaviour from patients who may skip counselling session or show up late for a session. In some instances, I can say that clients may turn violent or uncooperative and this presents a challenge on how to proceed with the session such that the client benefits. According to the Wisconsin Bureau of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, it is the responsibility of the addiction counselor to engage in aggressive follow up of the client. Sometimes these efforts require probing personal decision making and judgment skills. In counselling sessions, the addiction counselor may navigate the challenges by posing hypothetical questions, which would focus on the techniques of building and gaining a client’s trust. Throughout this process, it is critical for addiction counselor to uphold integrity and other high standards of moral behaviour.
There are also stress related challenges of this profession, especially when working in a custodial environment. These include prisons, juvenile detention facilities, and mental health centres that are characterized by large workload and scarce resources for servicing clients. In such situations, addiction counselor must outline the underlying work requirement to the employer to ensure that both the client and the addiction counselors do not experience any situations that may impede the realization of an effective counselling process.
Question 4: What do you consider as your strengths that have made it possible to execute your responsibilities professionally and efficiently?
The diversity that characterizes the types of clients that are attracted to addiction counseling sessions means that the personnel must possess unique bust specific strengths and skills. Being caring, empathic and compassionate have provided me with a platform for delivering effective and relevant services to my clients. Through these strengths, it is possible to reason with the client and understand their perspective on the addiction problem. Furthermore, they have also created opportunities for the development of self-generated solutions to addressing the needs of the client. I also consider my love for this work as an effective strength. This is because it has enabled me to maintain professional boundaries while being sensitive to client issues. This strength improves my communication skills while enhancing my ability to establish effective relationships with my clients.
Question 5: Would you say that the addiction counseling is rewarding?
The extent to which the addiction counseling is rewarding depends on the objectives of the professional. Personally, I think it is one of the most rewarding careers in the field of psychology because it seeks to provide help to someone who is seeking it. Throughout my professional life, I have witnessed the extent to which this profession promotes social benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery from chemical addiction-related problems and substance disorder. I have learned to appreciate and celebrate people in recovery by lauding the contributions of treatment and other service providers within these professions who promote the message of recovery in all the available formats. By interacting with clients and sharing, some of my experiences with them, the profession has become a platform for spreading the positive message that behavioural health is essential for the realization of overall health objectives. This has been facilitated by the communication of information on how prevention and treatment can be effective considering that people always recover from their addiction.
An additional rewarding aspect of this profession is that it enables the personnel to integrate different approaches depending on the client’s situation. I have been able to integrate different approaches when attending to my clients, and these include the 12-step model, the community reinforcement approach, and the cognitive-behavioural approach. This is effective because it provides for an opportunity of using an open mind to seek the best approach of assisting a client by involving the client in all steps of their treatment or recovery sessions.
The chemical dependency counselling interview was informative and highly insightful considering that it confirmed all my expectations concerning the field of addiction counselling. My view of the field has not changed because it has validated my understanding that the field of addiction counselling largely deals with unpredictable and sometimes unruly clients. This means that it requires the efforts of a dedicated addiction counsellor who will develop the best techniques and strategies that will ensure the effective creation of rapport. An effective rapport, from my understanding of the interview process, can in building trust with a client hence facilitating and effective interaction process. An aspect that surprised me was the way addiction counsellor has the responsibility of upholding their professional standards irrespective of the prevailing situation. Professionalism in this field is critical in determining the extent to which a counselling session will be considered successful or a failure.
The interview process was critical in motivating me to consider dedicating much of time to working in the field of addiction counselling. This is because I believe that I possess the right skills and expertise that can make me one of the best addiction counsellors. It also heightened my belief in the ability of the education system to produce professional who possess practical and relevant skills that can be applied in the process of providing help to part of the most vulnerable members of the society. My passion will continue driving me into securing more opportunities within this filed despite the existing challenges.