Addiction therapists work with individuals who are rehabilitating from substance abuse and other harmful behavioral activities. These therapists typically work in clinics and private practice, but are also employed by hospitals and even correctional facilities. They are responsible for assessing the level of harmful addiction or behavior in patients and overseeing one-on-one and group counseling to assist them in their recovery.
Typically, addiction therapists must assess the severity of patients' problems, whether they involve physical addiction or behavioral difficulties. They then help develop treatment plans, which usually include both one-on-one and group therapy sessions. In these sessions, therapists and patients attempt to work through root causes and life associations which may be underlying factors for addiction. If the therapist is not a licensed psychiatrist, he/she may also decide whether individuals should be referred to practitioners for recommended medicine to be prescribed.
Addiction therapists work with a variety of individuals, including clients who have destructive addictions pertaining to gambling, the internet, or even unlawful behaviors such as petty theft. As with substance abuse patients, therapists must assess the severity of the addiction, work with individuals to find underlying causes, and help them manage these factors through their recovery.
A college degree in psychiatry, psychology, or a counseling- or nursing-related field is generally required for this position. Most jurisdictions and many employers require some official or industry-granted accreditation, especially for hospitals and state-run institutions. Addiction therapists generally work during traditional business hours in clinical environments, but may also be required to maintain on-call hours.
Addiction Therapist Tasks
Refer patients to alternative programs or methods of treatment.
Support medical doctors in patient addiction treatment as required.
Maintain relationships with supportive organizations within the community.
Offer counseling and addiction support treatment to addicted individuals, their support groups, and the community.
Outline and execute treatment plans customized to each patient's unique situation.