Section 2 Practice Dimensions
The obligations of an addiction counselor to adhere to accepted ethical and behavioral standards of conduct and continuing professional development.
Adhere to established professional codes of ethics that define the professional context within which the counselor works to maintain professional standards and safeguard the client.
- Federal, State, agency, and professional codes of ethics.
- Clients’ rights and responsibilities.
- Professional standards and scope of practice.
- Boundary issues between client and counselor.
- Difference between the role of the professional counselor and that of a peer counselor or sponsor.
- Consequences of violating codes of ethics.
- Means for addressing alleged ethical violations.
- Nondiscriminatory practices.
- Mandatory reporting requirements.
- Demonstrating ethical and professional behavior.
- Openness to changing personal behaviors and attitudes that may conflict with ethical guidelines.
- Willingness to participate in self, peer, and supervisory assessment of clinical skills and practice.
- Respect for professional standards.
Adhere to Federal and State laws and agency regulations regarding the treatment of substance use disorders.
- Federal, State, and agency regulations that apply to addiction counseling.
- Confidentiality rules and regulations.
- Clients’ rights and responsibilities.
- Legal ramifications of noncompliance with confidentiality rules and regulations.
- Legal ramifications of violating clients’ rights.
- Grievance processes.
- Interpreting and applying appropriate Federal, State, and agency regulations regarding addiction counseling.
- Making ethical decisions that reflect unique needs and situations.
- Providing treatment services that conform to Federal, State, and local regulations.
- Appreciation of the importance of complying with Federal, State, and agency regulations.
- Willingness to learn the appropriate application of Federal, State, and agency guidelines.
Interpret and apply information from current counseling and psychoactive substance use research literature to improve client care and enhance professional growth.
- Professional literature on substance use disorders.
- Information on current trends in addiction and related fields.
- Professional associations.
- Resources to promote professional growth and competency.
- Reading and interpreting current professional and research-based literature.
- Applying professional knowledge to client-specific situations.
- Applying research findings to clinical practice.
- Applying new skills in clinically appropriate ways.
- Commitment to life-long learning and professional growth and development.
- Willingness to adjust clinical practice to reflect advances in the field.
Recognize the importance of individual differences that influence client behavior, and apply this understanding to clinical practice.
- Differences found in diverse populations.
- How individual differences affect assessment and response to treatment.
- Personality, culture, lifestyle, and other factors influencing client behavior.
- Culturally sensitive counseling methods.
- Dynamics of family systems in diverse cultures and lifestyles.
- Client advocacy needs specific to diverse cultures and lifestyles.
- Signs, symptoms, and patterns of violence against persons.
- Risk factors that relate to potential harm to self or others.
- Hierarchy of needs and motivation.
- Assessing and interpreting culturally specific client behaviors and lifestyles.
- Conveying respect for cultural and lifestyle diversity in the therapeutic process.
- Adapting therapeutic strategies to client needs.
- Willingness to appreciate the life experiences of individuals.
- Appreciation for diverse populations and lifestyles.
- Recognition of one’s biases toward other cultures and lifestyles.
Uses of The Competencies
In 2000, the Northwest Frontier (NF) ATTC solicited a substance abuse treatment workforce survey in its region. Evaluators surveyed substance abuse treatment professionals (both front line and management) in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Of 469 respondents, 63 percent were familiar with The Competencies. When asked how they used The Competencies, respondents indicated they used it for the following:
- 49 percent to improve their job performance
- 46 percent to guide their professional development
- 35 percent to improve treatment outcomes
- 32 percent for self-assessment
- 27 percent to assess job performance
- 22 percent to guide supervisory decisions.
A 2002 update of this survey in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington showed that, of 609 respondents, the majority of agency directors (79%) and treatment staff (61%) were familiar with The Competencies and, of those who reported familiarity, 80 percent actively used it in their work, showing a pattern of increasing use over time. A 2005 survey update, currently underway, will provide data on the most current uses of The Competencies. NFATTC has convened a regional workgroup, with participants from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, to develop teaching strategies specific to The Competencies. An educators’ “toolkit” of student exercises to use with The Competencies will be available on an educator’s Web page and in printed form and will be presented at educators’ workshops.
Use a range of supervisory options to process personal feelings and concerns about clients.
- The role of supervision.
- Models of supervision.
- Potential barriers in the counselor–client relationship.
- Transference and countertransference.
- Resources for exploration of professional concerns.
- Problemsolving methods.
- Conflict resolution.
- The process and effect of client reassignment.
- The process and effect of termination of the counseling relationship.
- Phases of treatment and client responses.
- Recognizing situations in which supervision is appropriate.
- Developing a plan for resolution or improvement of feelings and concerns that may interfere with the counselor– client relationship.
- Seeking supervisory feedback.
- Resolving conflicts.
- Identifying overt and covert feelings and their effect on the counseling relationship.
- Communicating feelings and concerns openly and respectfully.
- Willingness to accept feedback.
- Acceptance of responsibility for personal and professional growth.
- Awareness that one’s personal recovery issues have an effect on job performance and interactions with clients.
Conduct self-evaluations of professional performance applying ethical, legal, and professional standards to enhance self-awareness and performance.
- Personal and professional strengths and limitations.
- Legal, ethical, and professional standards affecting addiction counseling.
- Consequences of failure to comply with professional standards.
- Self-evaluation methods.
- Regulatory guidelines and restrictions.
- Developing professional goals and objectives.
- Interpreting and applying ethical, legal, and professional standards.
- Using self-assessment tools for personal and professional growth.
- Eliciting and applying feedback from colleagues and supervisors.
- Appreciation of the importance of self-evaluation.
- Recognition of personal strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.
- Willingness to change behaviors as necessary.
Obtain appropriate continuing professional education.
- Education and training methods that promote professional growth.
- Recredentialing requirements.
- Assessing personal training needs.
- Selecting and participating in appropriate training programs.
- Using consultation and supervision as enhancements to professional growth.
- Recognition that professional growth continues throughout one’s professional career.
- Willingness to expose oneself to information that may conflict with personal or professional beliefs.
- Recognition that professional development is an individual responsibility.
Participate in ongoing supervision and consultation.
- The rationale for regular assessment of professional skills and development.
- Models of clinical and administrative supervision.
- The rationale for using consultation.
- Agency policy and protocols.
- Case presentation methods.
- How to identify needs for clinical or technical assistance.
- Interpersonal dynamics in a supervisory relationship.
- Identifying professional progress and limitations.
- Communicating the need for assistance.
- Preparing and making case presentations.
- Eliciting feedback from others.
- Willingness to accept both constructive criticism and positive feedback.
- Respect for the value of clinical and administrative supervision.
Develop and use strategies to maintain one’s physical and mental health.
- Rationale for periodic self-assessment regarding physical health, mental health, and recovery from substance use disorders.
- Available resources for maintaining physical health, mental health, and recovery from substance use disorders.
- Consequences of failing to maintain physical health, mental health, and recovery from substance use disorders.
- Relationship between physical health and mental health.
- Health promotion strategies.
- Carrying out regular self-assessment with regard to physical health, mental health, and recovery from substance use disorders.
- Using prevention measures to guard against burnout.
- Employing stress-reduction strategies.
- Locating and accessing resources to achieve physical health, mental health, and recovery from substance use disorders.
- Modeling self-care as an effective treatment tool.
- Recognition that counselors serve as role models.
- Appreciation that maintaining a healthy lifestyle enhances the counselor’s effectiveness.