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Addiction Counselor Competencies

To meet the challenges facing the field, a major focus toward developing the addictions workforce is to improve the competencies of those in the field.  Competencies are the professional standards guiding addiction practitioners.  They identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes all addictions treatment professionals should have in common.

The Competencies establish a professional standard by which addiction practitioners can strive to master during their career. They are divided into two broad categories, four Transdisciplinary Foundations and eight Practice Dimensions. Within each category, core knowledge, skills and attitudes are identified. Attitudes refer to a state of preparedness or a mind-set to make a particular response. It has cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components. Many attitudes involve evaluations of persons, groups, or institutions.7

Download The Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice – Technical Assistance Publication Series (TAP 21)

TAP 21 is a key component of this strategy. This publication has been widely distributed and is now a benchmark by which curricula are developed and educational programs and professional standards are measured. 

Reported Applications

  • Curriculum/course evaluation and design for higher education
  • Personal professional development
  • Student advising, supervision, and assessment
  • Assessment of competent practices
  • Design of professional development and continuing education programs
  • Certification standards/exams.6

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