What Is Substance Abuse Counseling?

Substance abuse counseling is a combination of treatment and support to help people break free from drug or alcohol addiction. This specific type of therapy is often a key part of rehabilitation programs, like those offered at The Recovery Village, so clients can overcome substance dependence mentally and emotionally. People will work with a licensed addiction counselor or substance abuse counselor (titles vary while the therapeutic goals remain the same) in a clinical setting to address issues like mental health, behavior patterns and treatment options. Substance abuse counseling may involve:

  • Talk therapy sessions
  • Discussing the causes of addiction
  • Positive coping strategies
  • Developing treatment goals and plans
  • Practicing skills and behaviors necessary for recovery
  • Recommendations for 12-step programs or groups

Substance Abuse Counseling Near Me

There are a few common ways to find an addiction counselor. You can do a simple Google search to find local practices, call a toll-free hotline, or seek a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member who’s been in your shoes. Calling a national helpline can be a good place to start if you’re unsure where to look. You can reach out to the 24-hour alcohol abuse hotline (1.800.252.6465) or drug abuse hotline (1.800.821.4357) at any time to talk with a representative who can advise on nearby resources. However, to ensure you find exactly the right treatment for you, or even if you just need a listening ear, call The Recovery Village — it’s free, completely confidential, and you don’t have to commit to a program.

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility

Treatment facilities for those with substance use disorders can run the gamut from small, local detox clinics or outpatient-only facilities to nationwide, full-service rehabilitation centers like The Recovery Village. Facilities vary in levels of care, clinical teams and types of amenities. Choosing the right facility for you will depend greatly on the type and severity of your addiction. For instance, if you’ve only been dependent on opioids for a short amount of time, going to a detox center and participating in a peer group like Narcotics Anonymous may be sufficient steps. But for those who’ve been struggling with alcoholism or other substances for years, enrolling in a rehab facility is often the best option.

The Recovery Village offers both medically supervised detox and appropriate step-down programs like partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care. You’ll also meet with a substance abuse counselor, engage in indoor and outdoor activities and have a team of trained addiction specialists working with you in every program, so you can pursue sobriety successfully.     

Substance Abuse Counselor

What Is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Substance abuse counselors are licensed professionals trained in psychology, human behavior, chemical dependency and therapeutic methods. These therapists help people with behavioral disorders (primarily substance use) by talking through the complexities and causes of their addiction. Substance abuse counselors will work one-on-one with clients to develop goals and strategies for pursuing sobriety — all in a compassionate and confidential environment. People who choose a career in addiction counseling can work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and rehabilitation centers to halfway houses, prisons and private practices.  

Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements

Requirements to become a substance abuse counselor can vary, often depending upon the type of setting and employer. For most positions, a bachelor’s degree is required to be an addiction counselor. A Bachelor of Science in psychology is one type of degree held by addiction counselors, but for greater professional advancement, most counselors obtain master’s degrees. To be licensed to work in a private practice as a substance abuse counselor, a therapist must be hold a hold a master’s degree and have 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Additionally, addiction counselors must complete continuing education courses every year and pass a state-issued exam. However, keep in mind that each state’s regulations are unique, and the license and certification requirements vary. For more information on each state’s specific criteria for substance abuse counselors, visit the National Board for Certified Counselors.    

Substance Abuse Counseling

Addiction Counselor

What Is an Addiction Counselor?

Substance abuse counselors go by many names: substance use disorder counselor, chemical dependency professional, addiction therapist the list goes on. In many cases, addiction counselor is just another term for substance abuse counselor. For example, certified addiction counselors in Florida hold the same credentials as chemical dependency professionals in Washington State. Titles can sometimes denote different licensing or scopes of specialty, but when an individual works in a therapeutic setting, their work is mainly in helping others overcome addiction. The National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) is a certifying agency that aims for inclusivity in this profession, which includes counselors, social workers and administrators. In order to be certified by the NAADAC, a therapist must be a state-licensed substance use disorder counselor.

What Does a Drug Addiction Counselor Do?

Like therapists, addiction counselors will guide you in understanding addiction in a safe and supportive environment. They will talk one-on-one with you, listening to your struggles with addiction to explore its root causes. Alongside discussing your relationship with drugs or alcohol, substance abuse counselors will address any co-occurring disorders you may have, like depression, as they often are deeply intertwined with substance abuse. As you work through sessions together, your counselor will go over healthy coping skills and activities to pursue sobriety alongside or after treatment, like joining a 12-step group or practicing mindfulness in your daily life.  

Addiction Counselor Near Me

Hope and help are a phone call away. The Recovery Village’s representatives are always ready to take your call, answer your questions and help get you into the right program as soon as possible. If you want to explore other options, you can discover a variety of local resources for drug and alcohol treatment and counseling; click here to find therapists nearby.

Addiction Counseling Services

Many mental health professionals and therapists offer addiction counseling services as part of their practice, but seeing a counselor alone is just one step on the road to sobriety. It takes more than talk therapy to truly break free from addiction, especially for those whose substance abuse has been ongoing for years. Alongside addiction counseling, drug or alcohol detox is the way to begin a life of sobriety, and enrolling in a treatment program can further help you along the way. Addiction counseling services are included in every level of care at The Recovery Village as part of multidisciplinary treatment for healing of the mind and body. To find out more about the types of counseling and programs offered, call 352.771.2700 The Recovery Village today.

Substance Abuse Treatment Plan Goals and Objectives

Personal safety is the first priority at The Recovery Village, and in any counseling or medical setting. After a full psychological evaluation is completed, treatment can begin. The crucial first step in substance abuse treatment is medical detox, where your body can rid itself of drugs or alcohol. Afterward, you and your counselor can begin working on the psychological and emotional issues that influence your substance use disorder. If you pursue rehab at The Recovery Village, this next step will likely include moving to a step-down residential program, such as partial hospitalization. Once you’re stabilized and working past physical addiction, you and your counselor can begin to define your goals and objectives for therapy, which will be based on your:

  • Mental health diagnosis
  • Social needs (e.g., family relationships, friendships, etc.)
  • Goals for recovery and beyond (e.g., independent living, a return to a former career, etc.)
  • Situational threats to your ability to remain sober (e.g., underlying behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, chronic disorders, etc.)

Substance Abuse Treatment and the Stage of Change

Change is never easy, but it is often worth it in the end. When it comes to getting sober from drugs and alcohol, committing to making significant changes in your life is key to pursuing healing. Alcoholism researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. Diclemente created a 6-stage model of change, which includes pre-contemplation, maintenance and termination, to help people better understand and navigate the path to recovery.   

Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 8.9 million Americans suffer from co-occurring disorders (e.g. mental illnesses) alongside a substance use disorder. Substance abuse treatment at The Recovery Village includes a dual diagnosis process to identify co-occurring disorders so that mental health counseling can be integrated accordingly. For many clients, the two diagnoses (substance abuse and mental illness) are deeply intertwined, requiring simultaneous treatment.

Substance abuse treatment for people with co-occurring disorders begins with a baseline of information taken to identify the issues at hand. With the therapist, the patient can create goals they would like to reach over the course of counseling sessions. Some common psychotherapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): A type of therapy used to treat a wide range of mental illnesses and identify the specific behaviors and mindsets that may contribute to addiction.  
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): This is a subset of CBT that aims to help people evaluate their inner feelings and thoughts, accept and tolerate change and practice mindfulness.
  • Interpersonal Therapy: Commonly used to treat dysthymia and depression, this therapy focuses on improving communication with others and oneself.

Family Therapy: Family can be a huge source of support and care for someone struggling with substance use disorder. Family therapy may be especially useful for those with co-occurring disorders, as it balances therapeutic practices with familial care.


Don’t let a substance use disorder ruin your life. If you’re seeking substance abuse counseling services or want to find out more about treatment at The Recovery Village, help is a phone call 352.771.2700 away. Reach out today to get started on the road to healing.

Substance Abuse Counseling was last modified: September 22nd, 2017 by The Recovery Village