Substance addictions are frightening life controllers and people looking for credentialed counselors often seek a counselor who is a Certified Allied Addiction Practitioner. The reason is that anyone can call himself a counselor, but professionals with credentials such as CAAP represent qualified and standardized skills.
What is an Addictions Practitioner?
Experts at the Drug Abuse.gov estimate there are more than 17 million people in the United States who are addicted to alcohol. The financial cost of that addiction is more than $25 billion in health care and $225 billion in total costs. That is only part of the picture though, because there are people addicted to opiates, prescription medications, heroin and other drugs as well.
The financial cost of dealing with the effects of addiction is staggering, but there is a human toll too. Addiction brings poverty with it, and child abuse. It fuels domestic violence, breaks apart families, and results in lost work days for employers.
"Innerbody.com" says addiction practitioners must interview clients to determine what substances are being abused, what may be causing the addiction and what trigger factors are present. Then they work with the client to develop a treatment plan. The plan may be short term, as in dealing with an overdose or a suicidal thought pattern, or long term. It may include counseling sessions, attendance of peer support programs like A.A. or N.A., use of pharmacology to lower cravings and behavioral planning such as devising a safety plan to deal with social situations that threaten sobriety. Practitioners help clients secure housing, medical help and peer support. They also work with families and employers and legal authorities to get the best outcome for their clients.
What Kinds of Education do they have?
People who call themselves addiction counselors may have little education beyond a few psychology courses and some experience in dealing with substance abuse. Most states require at least a master's degree in psychology, sociology, or related fields for licensure as a counselor. Certifying organizations require that the education be obtained from accredited programs.
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What is a Certified Allied Addiction Practitioner?
Along with licensing, most states require certification to practice substance abuse counseling and for addiction programs to qualify for funding. Certifying organizations are usually made up of peers in a discipline that decide upon standards of excellence in practice, ethics and educational standards.
Allied Addictions is a substance abuse program based in Pennsylvania. The CAAP credential is coveted by addictions counselors because it tells clients that the counselor meets certain standards. Beyond the university degree, counselors must evidence that they have knowledge and skills in areas of specialization. Professionals may submit an application form and the certification fee. They also enclose copies of documents that prove they meet the educational requisites such as transcripts or copies of their professional licenses. There is a comprehensive examination as well. After obtaining the credentials, counselors may add the initials CAAP to their titles. Maintaining certification requires following continuing education mandates.
Addictions counseling is an important component of the mental health system, but counselors without credentials can often do more harm than good. In addition, people who go to non-credentialed counselors spend money they can ill afford to lose on questionable practitioners. You can, however, rely on the knowledge, skill and ethics of a Certified Allied Addictions Practitioner.