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Running head: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 1
SOWK 6103 Week 3 Assignment
Racquel Walsh
Walden University
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 2
It is very essential for professionals providing services in the area of addiction must be
competent when it comes to evaluating and providing substance abuse treatment to individuals
battling substance abuse addiction. Addiction professionals hold and lead group and individual
sessions in order to provide support to his/her client during their recovery as well as providing
support to assist the client with maintaining sobriety. Continued and ongoing education and
training are very vital in developing the various competencies that an addiction professional
needs in order to provide effective treatment to substance addicts as well as seeking out ongoing
professional development opportunities. Having knowledge of and a clear understanding of the
various competencies that are required in order to provide substance treatment is very important
in order to provide care that is skilled, effective, and comprehensive.
According to DHHS, there is a comprehensive list consisting of 123 various
competencies in which addiction professionals providing treatment to substance addicts should
have mastered in order to be able to effectively provide substance abuse treatment to their clients
(DHHS 2018). Three different competencies in which a professional providing substance abuse
treatment should possess are counseling, assessment and screening, and service coordination.
Having a clear understanding of assessment and screening will allow the professional to gain an
understanding of the client’s problem and in order to be able to connect to the appropriate
services that will align with the client’s needs.
Counseling can be considered as the main competency that a substance addiction
professional should have. Treating a client’s mental health issue(s) and providing education on 3
various coping strategies that will provide support to the client in their recovery is something that
a substance addiction professional should be very skilled in (Lambert 2002). The professional
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 3
should be effective in building in good rapport with the client which allows the client to develop
trust in the professional. Good rapport and trust will allow the professional to provide effective
therapy to the client. It is also very important for the substance addiction professional to
culturally competent. Being culturally competent very important because it will allow the
professional to provide services to a diverse population and provide effective treatment to the
individual needs of that client (Fairburn & Copper 2011).
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the “assessment is a
systematic approach to screening and assessment of individuals though to have substance use
disorder, being considered for admission to addiction-related services or presenting in a crisis
situation” (DHHS 2018). It is considered to be very essential for the professional to be highly
skilled at conducting assessments. With the screening phase, the substance addiction professional
will be able to identify the client’s problem, then be able to identify what the best treatment
would be for the client. Building a great rapport with the client is very important and will allow
an interpersonal relationship to develop which will make the client to feel trusting and
comfortable with the substance addiction professional, thus allowing the client to give honest
answers and responses.
Service coordination is another competency that a substance addiction professional
should be very skilled and knowledgeable in. With service coordination, the professional is able
to connect the client with various services and community resources that will provide the client
with support during their recovery and aid them in maintaining their sobriety. It is essential for a
client to receive additional services to support his/her recovery and assist him/her to maintain
his/her sobriety. Mental health and community support services (AA, NA, recovery support
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 4
groups etc.) are examples of additional support services that a client should have access to and be
connected to. Housing services may also be needed for some clients. Many communities have
sober living housing in which individuals in recovery are able to live amongst other individuals
who are also in recovery, which can be a great sense of support.
Developing stronger therapeutic skills is something I would need to do as a substance
addiction therapist. Being as my internship has been at an intensive outpatient substance abuse
treatment center, I have been fortunate enough to gain experience and competency in assessment
and screening as well as service coordination. In order for me to become a more effective
substance addiction therapist, I would have to gain more knowledge on various therapeutic
approaches, treatment, and interventions. I considered myself to be very culturally competent
due to my extensive experience with working with individuals of various cultural, racial, ethnic,
religious, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, and political affiliations, etc. backgrounds.
Professional development opportunities that I would participate in order to strengthen my
professional competencies would be continued and ongoing training and professional
development seminars and courses. I would also connect myself with another professional with
extensive experience and knowledge in the field that could serve as my mentor. Having a mentor
with extensive experience and knowledge in the field could be very beneficial to me in helping to
strengthen my professional competencies.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 5
References
Fairburn, C. & Cooper, Z. (2011). Therapist competence, therapy quality, and therapist training.
Behavior Research & Therapy
Lambert, M. T. (2002). Linking mental health and addiction services: A continuity-of-care team
model. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). [DHHS]. Addiction Counseling
Competencies the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice.
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