Assessment 1: Counseling Career

Assessment 1: Counseling Career

Assessment 1: Counseling Career

There are many counseling theories that guide counselors’ work in their specialized areas of service. For this assessment, you explore areas of specialization and focus on one area that speaks to you. Then, you will write 3-4 pages that describe a specific counseling career of interest to you, and include its setting, job requirements, skills, and credentials.

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This week, you will explore the historical events that have shaped the counseling profession and begin to look at current issues and trends. You will explore specific counseling specializations such as mental health counseling, addictions, school counseling, and marriage and family therapy. This will help you to find the area of counseling that might be a good fit for your interests and goals.

For this assessment, you have the opportunity to explore an area of counseling that you find interesting and that you may want to pursue as a career. It is a chance for you to become familiar with the type of job listings and titles associated with the specialization and its educational and skill requirements.

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Begin with a search of job postings for a current counseling job of interest to you. In can be in any area of counseling, such as mental health, social work, marriage and family therapy, addictions, school counseling, career counseling, etc.

Note: If you have taken PSYC-FP2300, please choose a specialization other than addictions. You may not repeat your addictions career from PSYC-FP2300. Challenge yourself to explore another career that could be paired with addictions, such as mental health counseling, etc.

Based on your interest, you may choose to use your Introduction to Counseling: Voices From the Field text to read one or more of the following in order to complete your assessment:

Chapter 10, “Family, Couples, and Sex Counseling,” pages 271-300 (for those interested in marriage, couples, and family counseling).
Chapter 11, “Career Counseling,” pages 301-329 (for those interested in incorporating career counseling into a specialization of interest).
Chapter 12, “Neuroscience, Addictions, and Psychopharmacology,” pages 330-367 (for those interested in addictions counseling).
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics may also be helpful. Other resources may be found in the Capella University Library or on the Internet under organizations that support the specialization.

At the beginning of your paper, identify the employer, the job title, and the date of the job posting. You may use any search engine that lists counseling jobs, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder. If you have another search engine you prefer, you can use that for your search. Just be sure to find a recent job posting. It is a good idea to check for jobs in your geographic area so that you can see what types of opportunities there might be for you in the future. If you cannot find one of interest to you in your area, you can use another geographic area.

In your paper complete the following:

Summarize the key aspects of the counseling specialization you have chosen. Think about how it is different from other specializations.
Describe the job requirements, including the skills and credentials needed (for example, the type of bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree). If licensure is required, provide a brief overview of your state’s requirements (such as clinical hours, supervision required, licensure exam, etc.).
Describe the settings in which the professional in this specialization might work, and the populations they might serve. For example, does this type of professional work in clinics, hospitals, schools, universities, private practice, social service agencies, et cetera, or a combination of settings? Who are their clientele? Do they serve a specific population, or a variety of populations? Explain in your paper.
Describe how your personal as well as professional goals are aligned with this career choice. Be sure to provide examples. Note: This portion can be written in first person since you are discussing your own personal and professional goals.
Use professional or scholarly sources to support your work. The sources can help you develop your explanation of what specialists in the chosen area of counseling do, what types of settings they may work in, and what populations they may serve.
Assessment Requirements
Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA formatting: References and in-text citations are formatted according to current APA style and formatting. See Evidence and APA for more information.
Length: 3-4 double-spaced pages of content, in addition to a title page and references page.
References: Use professional sources, such as your textbook or and peer-reviewed, scholarly articles to support your paper. A minimum of 2 sources published within the past 10 years is required.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point font.
SafeAssign: Use the SafeAssign Draft option to check your writing and ensure that you have paraphrased, quoted, and cited your sources appropriately. Run a SafeAssign report, saving your paper as a draft. Based on your SafeAssign results, make any necessary changes to your paper before submitting your assessment to your instructor for grading.
In addition, look through the Counseling Career Scoring Guide to ensure you have met all of the criteria for the assessment. Work toward the distinguished level wording on the scoring guide for each criterion.

Competencies Measured
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and scoring guide criteria:

Competency 2: Explore counseling career options.
Summarize key aspects of a counseling specialization.
Describe job requirements, skills, and credentials required for a specific counseling career job listing.
Describe the settings of a specific counseling specialization and the populations they may serve.
Explain how personal or professional goals align with a specific counseling career choice.
Competency 3: Write using a clear purpose, organization, tone, and sentence structure.
Communicate clearly with appropriate purpose, organization, tone, and sentence structure.
Cite sources using author and year, and provide some reference information required in APA style.

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Assessment 1: Counseling Career

On November 5th, 2022, the Santa Rosa Department of Health Services (DHS) posted a job vacancy for Alcohol and Other Drug Services Counselor II on The Country of Sonoma aimed at conducting continuous recruitment for this position and targeted candidates with a vision of “making a difference in the lives of others in the community.” As a result, the employer required job applicants to have a license or relevant certifications consistent with California Health and Safety Code Section 11833(b)(1). Substance abuse and addiction counseling remain the preferred areas of specialization, considering the plausibility of transforming lives and restoring the health of people grappling with alcoholism, tobacco product use, and other forms of drug addictions that compromise people’s health and wellness. According to Tsai et al. (2019), substance use, misuse, and dependence are primary causes of multiple health issues, including the global burden of diseases, increased healthcare expenditures, productivity losses, and negative ramifications on social welfare. As a result, operating as an addiction counselor provides opportunities for intercepting these consequences and improving people’s health. Consequently, this paper summarizes the essential aspects of addiction counseling, describes the job requirements, professional settings, and the alignment of personal and professional goals with addiction counseling.

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Summary of the Key Aspects of Addiction Counseling

Substance abuse and addiction counseling is a demanding career, considering the complexities associated with clients grappling with long-term substance dependence and the subsequent cognitive and behavioral alterations emanating from addiction. Kottler & Shepard (2015) define addiction as “a persistent, chronic, and intense focus on a single behavior pattern that feels (or is) out of control” (p. 337). In the context of substance addiction and dependence, people should demonstrate various symptoms, including persistent and frequent thinking about the behavior or action, restless or irritability amidst an attempt to cease the behavior, feelings of anxiety after temporary cessation of the behavior, and the inability to control, cut back, or stop the behavior (Kottler & Shepard 2015). The prevalence of these symptoms renders addiction counseling complex and different from other specialties, considering the mind-altering properties of drugs that require counselors to understand the pathophysiology of substances and the brain’s reactions toward them.

Unlike other specialties like family and couple counseling that emphasize establishing social relationships, addiction counseling delves into an in-depth analysis of mental reactions and alterations associated with long-term exposure to substances and drugs. According to Kottler & Shepard (2015), understanding neuroscience and psychopharmacology underpins addiction counseling because it equips counselors with the knowledge of how the brain works, including the functions and pathways of neurons and neurotransmitters. An understanding of brain functions and pathways can help counselors in determining ideal models for alleviating the perversive condition of addiction.

Job Requirements

Skills and Credentials Needed

Substance use and addiction counselors should demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the career choice. In this sense, academic qualifications and employability skills are fundamental in enabling applicants to secure jobs in different professional settings. According to Cherry (2022), substance abuse counselors should have relational, social, and therapeutic skills, including empathy, listening skills, and patience. Equally, they must possess a set of generic skills and competencies, including diagnostic, exploration, relationship, conceptualization, action, group process, and evaluation skills (Kottler & Shepard, 2015, p. 60). These generic attributes, skills, and competencies enable substance abuse counselors to identify underlying factors that facilitate addiction, explore implicit perceptions, develop supportive alliances with clients, and personalize therapeutic models consistent with clients’ needs, priorities, and preferences.

Besides a set of generic and employability skills, substance abuse counselors should fulfill all academic and licensure requirements. According to Cherry (2022), addiction counselors should have a least a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse and related fields, including behavioral, social science, and psychology. Further, aspiring substance use counselors can earn a master’s degree in substance use or addiction counseling from accredited institutions, as well as complete a graduate and postgraduate internship experience for certification (Online Counseling Programs, 2017). In California, substance abuse counselors should pass the recognized examinations for licensure and certification. These examinations include the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). It is crucial to note that academic Knowledge enables counselors to understand the theoretical underpinnings of counseling and translate abstract knowledge to practice.

Professional Settings

Substance abuse is a multifactorial health issue that exposes people to adverse consequences, including the increased prevalence of chronic conditions, including mental disorders, behavioral alterations, and cardiovascular diseases. The at-risk groups for substance abuse include people with poor social determinants of health (SDOH) like poverty, unemployment, and unfavorable social contexts. Other risk factors for substance abuse and addiction are physical and emotional trauma, chronic health problems, grief and loss, occupational issues, and family history (Afuseh et al., 2020). The proliferation of these risk factors for addiction requires substance abuse counselors to operate in diverse settings to alleviate the effects of substance use dependence. According to Cherry (2022), substance abuse counselors can work in treatment facilities, including outpatient clinics, correctional facilities, government agencies, residential treatment centers, employee assistance programs, and probation and parole agencies.

Alignment of Personal and Professional Addiction Counseling

As an aspiring substance abuse counselor, my goals include using my academic and professional knowledge/experience to improve the lives of people grappling with addiction and its subsequent effects. Equally, I aim to translate theoretical knowledge to practice and adopt proven therapeutic and pharmacological models for improving clients’ wellness and health. Other personal goals include striving for excellence through ongoing learning and professional development, subjugating personal needs, coping with discomfort, adopting a neutral posture by addressing implicit biases that affect my profession, and dealing with ambiguity by applying generic skills, such as assessment and exploration competencies. These goals align with the overall objectives of substance abuse counseling.

For instance, substance abuse counselors have a set of common goals that serve to clarify professional Identity. They include working constructively toward career planning, integrating thinking, feeling, and behaviors into self-expression, effectively responding to stress and reducing negative impacts on clients’ lives, and developing meaningful interpersonal skills to support interactions with peers, families, and colleagues (Kottler & Shepard, 2015). Other professional goals for substance abuse counselors include demonstrating awareness of the holistic nature of life, assessing strengths and identifying weaknesses to improve personal awareness, and developing competencies for constructive decision-making.


Substance abuse counseling is an ever-demanding profession, considering the complexities associated with addiction and efforts to address drug dependence. In this sense, aspiring counselors should satisfy academic requirements for certification and licensure, as well as have generic skills, such as relational skills, active listening, empathy, and cultural competence. Equally, they should align personal goals with professional objectives to thrive in this ever-dynamic counseling specialty.


Afuseh, E., Pike, C. A., & Oruche, U. M. (2020). An individualized approach to primary prevention of substance use disorder: Age-related risks. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 15(1).

Cherry, K. (2022). What does a substance abuse counselor do?

Kottler, J. A., & Shepard, D. S. (2015). Introduction to counseling: Voices from the field (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Online Counseling Programs. (2017). Becoming a substance abuse counselor.

Tsai, A. C., Alegría, M., & Strathdee, S. A. (2019). Addressing the context and consequences of substance use, misuse, and dependence: A global imperative. PLOS Medicine, 16(11), e1003000.

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