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Lori Simon is from Widener University
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012) estimates that employment for alcohol and drug counselors is expected to increase 27% by 2022. The prescription drug abuse epidemic, the affordable health care act, and attrition rates of alcohol and drug counselors have contributed the “workforce crisis” of alcohol and drug counselors” in the United States (Hodge et al., 2013). Little attention has been given to alcohol and drug counselor competencies. This study examined alcohol and drug counselors' counseling competences. The perceived recovery status is unique to the alcohol and drug profession, because many counselors are themselves in recovery from substance abuse (Curtis & Eby, 2010). The few studies conducted on this area of research have assessed perceived recovery status impacts on supervisory relationships (Culbreth & Cooper, 2008), evidence-based practices (Simons, Jacobucci, & Houston, 2004), and competence (Simons et al., 2016). Simons et al. (2005) surveyed emerging counselors and found that 53% of them were in recovery from substance abuse. Findings from this study suggest that recovering counselors were more resistant to using evidence-based practices in alcohol and drug treatment compared to their counterparts (2005). Subsequent studies indicate that less than one-third of alcohol and drug professionals identify themselves as in recovery (Simons et al., 2017). A recent study detected that professionals with a recovery identity were not as comfortable working with consumers diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, and were more likely to use twelve-step and faith-based approaches in treatment compared to those professionals without a recovery identity (Simons et al., 2018). Taken together, these findings indicate that professionals entering the alcohol and drug counseling field are less likely to identify as in recovery and those professionals who do identify as in recovery are more likely to use self-help approaches in treatment. Suggestions for interdisciplinary training and clinical supervision for alcohol and drug counselors are discussed.