Section 2 Practice Dimensions

Introduction to the Practice Dimensions

Professional practice for addiction counselors is based on eight practice dimensions, each of which is necessary for effective performance of the counseling role. Several of the practice dimensions are subdivided into elements. The dimensions identified, along with the competencies that support them, form the heart of this section of the competencies.

The Eight Practice Dimensions of Addiction Counseling

  1. Clinical evaluation
    1. Screening
    2. Assessment
  2. Treatment planning
  3. Referral
  4. Service coordination
    1. Implementing the treatment plan
    2. Consulting
    3. Continuing assessment and treatment planning
  5. Counseling
    1. Individual counseling
    2. Group counseling
    3. Counseling families, couples, and significant others
  6. Client, family, and community education
  7. Documentation
  8. Professional and ethical responsibilities

A counselor’s success in carrying out a practice dimension depends on his or her ability to attain the competencies underlying that component. Each competency, in turn, depends on its own set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. For an addiction counselor to be truly effective, he or she should possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with each competency that are consistent with the counselor’s training and professional responsibilities.


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