An Addiction counselor has a very important responsibility to carry out prevention techniques in the society. Because she has enough knowledge and skills that are seriously needed by society that has to deal with an ever rising cases of substance dependence, she is called upon to implement strategies that will prevent further spread of the young people getting into addiction.
Addiction treatment being an expensive and time consuming exercise, it is easier to prevent our young people from getting into alcohol and substance use and abuse. Some of the roles of addiction counselor in community prevention include the following;
- Enabler In the enabler role, an addiction counselor helps communities become capable of coping with situations or stress of having members of the society battling substance use and abuse. Addiction counselor conveys hope, reducing resistance and ambivalence, recognizing and managing feelings, identifying and supporting personal strengths and social assets, breaking down problems into parts that can be solved more readily, and maintaining a focus on goals and the means of achieving them (Barker, 1995).
- Mediator The mediator role involves resolving arguments or conflicts micro, mezzo, or macro systems. At the macro level, the mediator helps various subsystems within a community, or a community and some other system, work out their differences. At the micro and mezzo levels, mediation helps in such areas as resolving divorce and child custody cases. A mediator remains neutral and does not side with either party in the dispute.
- Integrator/Coordinator Integration is the process of bringing together various parts to form a unified whole. Coordination involves bringing components together in some kind of organized manner. An addiction counselor can function as an integrator/coordinator in many ways, ranging from. Advocacy and identification of coordination opportunities, to provision of technical assistance, to direct involvement in the development and implementations of service linkages.
- Manager Management in addiction counseling involves having some level of administrative responsibility for asocial agency or other unit to determine organizational goals` acquire resources and allocate them to carry out programs; coordinate activities toward the achievement of selected goals; and monitor, assess, and make necessary changes in processes and structure to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
- Educator This is the most important role an addiction counselor will play in addition prevention strategies. As an educator, an addiction counselor will be involved in giving information and teaching skills to communities about the most commonly used drugs in the area, how to know if any one of your family members is abusing drugs, methodologies that can be applied to ensure that families and communities provide adequate knowledge to their children about drugs and their effects. To effectively deliver the prevention message, the addiction counselor should seek to educate all people who directly or indirectly influence the decision making process of the youth. They include the primary care givers, schools and other academic institutions and the community in general. To be an effective educator, the worker must first be knowledgeable. Additionally, the worker must be a good communicator so that information is conveyed clearly and is understood by the client or macro system.
- Analyst/Evaluator Addiction counselor should have a broad knowledge base of how various ystems function so that he can analyze or evaluate how well prevention programs and systems work. They can also evaluate the effectiveness of their own interventions. Broker As a broker, an addiction counselor will helps link clients (individuals, groups, organizations, or communities) with community resources and services available to address the community`s needs for preventive services. For instance, she can connect a church or a youth group with an organization such as NACADA who can be called upon to facilitate community awareness programs. A broker also helps put “various segments of the community in touch with one another “to enhance their mutual interests (Barker, 1995, p. 43). In micro and mezzo systems, this requires that the worker be familiar with community services, have general knowledge about eligibility requirements, and be sensitive to client needs. As a broker, he may also help a recovering addict obtain emergency food or housing, legal aid, or other needed resources especially in the early stages of recovery.
- Facilitator A facilitator is “one who serves as a leader for some group experience” (Barker, 1995, p. 129). The group may be a family therapy group, a task group, a sensitivity group, an educational group, a self-help group, or a group with some other focus. The facilitator role may also apply to macro practice. In this context, a facilitator assumes the responsibility to expedite the change effort by bringing together people and lines of communication, channeling their activities and resources, and providing them with access to expertise.
- Negotiator A negotiator represents an organization, a group, or an individual that is trying to gain something from another group or system. Somewhat like mediation, negotiation involves finding a middle ground that all sides can lived with and achieving consensus whenever possible. However, unlike mediators, who play a neutral role, negotiators clearly ally themselves with one of the sides involved. Advocate Advocacy involves “the act of directly representing a course of action on behalf on one or more individuals, groups, or communities, with the goal of securing or retaining social justice”(Mickelson, 1995, p. 5). The advocate role involves stepping forward and speaking on behalf of the client system. The advocate role is one of the most important roles an addiction counselor can assume, despite its potential difficulties.
An addiction counselor as a social worker has a very big responsibility to the community to initiate prevention mechanism that will ensure that each individual member of society gets to attain full potential for their capabilities.
By full practicing the roles set aside for him as stipulated above, the addiction counselor will be an agent of change in the society leading to more prosperity in the community. It is of utmost importance also for we addiction counselors to realize that unless we make a hard decision of going out to the communities to reach out to them with the knowledge and information of how they can make our communities free from effects of alcohol and substance abuse, the communities may not come to us for many of them don`t yet have an awareness that they can do anything to improve the welfares of our communities.
We should seek to empower the communities so that when we are not there they can of themselves implement programs that will make difference to the next generation.
- Barker, R. L. (1995). The social work dictionary (3rd ed. ). Washington, DC: NASW Press.
- Yessian, M. R. , & Broskowski, A. (1983). Generalists in human-service systems: Their problems and prospects.
- Prentice Hall. Zastrow, C. , & Kirst-Ashman, K. (1997). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (4thed. ). Wadsworth Publishing Company