A substance abuse counsellor should be an individual who has counselling/therapy qualifications and meets any local or state certifications who specialises in helping people who have what are known as substance abuse issues.
The term substance abuse is actually quite a wide one, and can mean many things to many people.
To most people it refers to individuals who have problems with drugs or alcohol or any other type of addictive substance, or any mood altering substance or drug. This can be quite a wide terms and people who have specific addictions to certain drugs such as heroin may well prefer to use other terms to describe the addiction.
A substance abuse counsellor needs to be a person as mentioned above who is fully qualified as a counsellor or therapist, and has additional training and or experience in the field of substance abuse.
This training and or experience is key, so that the individual has some understanding of what the issues of alcoholism and or drug addiction or substance addiction is.
Substance abuse counsellor
It is quite possible that a substance abuse counsellor is someone who is also what is known as a recovering alcoholic or a recovering addict themselves.
This normally means that they are an individual who has had a drink and/or drug problem in the past, and has done recovery work on themselves to be clean and sober for a lengthy period of time.
An alcoholic or an addict who stops drinking or using drugs and see themselves as clean/sober may well refer to themselves as a recovering alcoholic or a recovering addict.
Other people may refer to themselves as recovered alcoholics or recovered addicts.
These terms can be quite important to them, but actually means little to other people. What is important is that the substance abuse counsellor has the necessary experience and training to understand the nature of alcoholism and drug addiction and can bring this experience to bear no work as a therapist or counsellor.
A substance abuse counsellor may work in a variety of clinical settings. But often they will work in a rehab or a treatment center, either residential or some type of day care treatment.
Other substance abuse counsellors will work in a private practice, and will see clients in much the same way as a normal therapist or counsellor will.
A substance abuse counsellor in private practice, or in some type of public health practice may well refer individuals to some type of residential rehab or ongoing partial hospitalisation treatment as part of their recovery program.