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Not everyone who experiences addiction needs to “go to treatment,” but anyone could benefit from availing themselves of addiction counseling services.

Addiction counselors may also be licensed to diagnose and provide counseling for co-occurring mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or anxiety. Counselors establish a close rapport with their clients, but they must also maintain clear boundaries. This is a professional, hierarchical relationship.

Based upon clear diagnostic criteria, the counselor will diagnose a client with addiction (substance use disorder) and specify the severity and complexity. It is the licensed addiction counselor who decides what level of care may be appropriate after this comprehensive assessment. After receiving guidance and recommendations from the counselor, individuals decide for themselves what their recovery process will look like.

If treatment is called for, the counselor can connect an individual to the appropriate level of care and possibly participate in treatment planning and/or aftercare support. Counselors employed by treatment centers play a crucial role in the treatment experience. If no treatment is planned, the provider and individual may mutually agree upon a course of action and move forward with regularly scheduled sessions, the frequency and duration of which will vary.

Here are a few resources to help you plan and prepare for counseling services.

Preparing for Counseling Services

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