It is commonly recognized that substance abuse is a major societal issue. Substance abuse often occurs in conjunction with other problematic behaviors. Therefore, the treatment provided to the substance-abusing client must be wide enough in scope to address a wide range of disorders.

Regardless of the specific addiction, there are certain core functions, skills, and knowledge areas that are essential to quality treatment. It is acknowledged that these core skills are acquired in any number of treatment settings. What is essential is the acquisition of these competencies, not the context of that acquisition.

Certification is the process by which a professional organization grants recognition to addictions counselors who meet specific predetermined criteria. The main goal of this process is to assure quality services through the availability of competent and ethical counselors.

Certification is voluntary and is available to individuals who are qualified to provide services to those persons affected by substance abuse. This certification process identifies and examines the addictions counselor's knowledge and skills. Once an applicant has demonstrated proficiency in these core skills through a portfolio application, a written and an oral examination determine proficiency in the specific knowledge/skill areas.

This process does not endorse any one particular philosophy or theory for service provision. Emphasis is placed on those theories that have been clinically effective over time with the understanding that the core functions and knowledge base identified are the essentials of quality treatment.

This process encourages and requires the development of professional skills and competencies by Addictions Counselors. The system is designed in a manner that has allowed for reciprocity with other state certification bodies through the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, Inc. (ICRC/AODA).

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