Twelve Core Functions of the Addiction Counselor (TAP21)

The twelve core functions of an addiction counselor are:

I.       Screening:  Determining whether the client appropriate and eligible for admission to the program.

II.     Intake:  Completing admission, assessment and other program forms,  releases of information, and assigning a primary counselor to the client.

III.    Orientation:  Describing to the client the goals of the program; rules of conduct and infractions that can lead to disciplinary action or discharge from the program.

IV.    Assessment:   Identifying and evaluating an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, problems and needs in order to develop a treatment plan.  This usually results from a combination of focused interviews, testing  and/or record reviews.

V.     Treatment Planning: Identifying and ranking problems needing resolution; establishing agreed-upon immediate and long-term goals; and deciding upon a treatment process and the resources to be utilized.   A written treatment contract (or recovery plan) is based on the assessment and is a product of a negotiation between the client and the counselor to assure that the plan is tailored to the individual’s needs.

VI.    Counseling: Basically, the relationship in which the counselor helps the client mobilize resources to resolve his or her problem and/or modify attitudes and values.

VII.  Case Management:  Knowing how to bring outside services, agencies, and resources to assist the client to recovery and attain other goals of the treatment plan.

VIII. Crisis Intervention: Knowing how to  respond to an alcohol and/or other drug abuser’s needs during acute emotional and/or physical distress that threatens to compromise or destroy the rehabilitation effort.

IX.    Client Education:  Education that supports recovery from alcohol and drug addiction can be provided in a variety of ways;  a sequence of formal classes may be conducted or outside educational resources may be used.

X.     Referral:  Identifying the needs of a client that cannot be met by the counselor or agency (mission) along with assisting the client to access  the support systems and community resources available.

XI.    Report and Record Keeping:  Charting the results of treatment; writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries and other client-related data.

XII.  Consultation: Relating with in-house staff or outside professionals to assure comprehensive, quality care for the client; involves meetings for discussion, decision-making and planning.

If you have any questions about these matters or need help in contacting the agency in your state that administers the credentialing process, see our page on licensure requirements by state. You may also contact us by email at to see how we can help.

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