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Professional Development

Training and Professional Development

Providing all employees with training and professional development is essential for a number of reasons. First, it serves as a compelling incentive to stay because it keeps employees engaged and fulfills their desire for learning opportunities. It also addresses the field’s need for more qualified workers who must care for complex cases demanding a high level of skill and professional training. In addition, addiction leaders are retiring. Emerging leaders must be identified, mentored and trained in order to step in to these leadership roles.

Currently the addictions field is faced with a workforce development crisis due to the many complicated and interconnected issues surrounding addictions treatment. For more details, go to the Workforce Development Overview section of the ATTC Network Web site.

Continuous development of staff skills is fundamental in the delivery of high-quality client care. It is a complex process involving teaching, facilitating, collaborating and supporting counselor self-efficacy. Supervisors must facilitate this process in the context of a collaborative supervisor-supervisee relationship within professional, ethical and legal guidelines.37


Encourage and help your staff seek out self-improvement opportunities which meet their potential. Whether it’s completing a degree, pursing a credential or taking a continuing education course, life-long learning is essential. Support your staff in their career goals while encouraging them to find their personal approach for serving others.

Click here to view Educational Opportunities for practitioners.

Addiction Counselor Competencies

Addiction Counselors should have a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes to be competent, also known as professional standards or competencies.

Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes of Professional Practice, Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 21 – SAMHSA publication listing 123 competencies which substance abuse treatment counselors should master to do their work effectively.

Refer to the Addiction Counselors Competencies section for detailed information.

This life-long learning philosophy applies to every addiction practitioner in whatever capacity and position an employee may serve.

Clinical Supervisor Competencies

There are also a specialized set of competencies which are relevant to clinical supervisors. These competencies are outlined in the new SAMHSA publication, Competencies for Substance Abuse Treatment Clinical Supervisors, Technical Assistance Publication Series (TAP) 21-A.

Included in TAP 21-A are specific Clinical Supervisor Competencies for Counselor Development. Go to the Resources for Professional Growth section to view the complete counselor development performance domain competency list.

Professional Growth Links

Professional Growth Resources - Discover ways in which you can cultivate your own career

Along with the featured ATTC Resources, look for more Counselor Development Competencies and professional development resources for supervisors in Professional Growth Resources.

Tips and Steps You Can Take for supervising and motivating your staff can be found in the Professional Growth Resources section too.

How Can I take care of myself in a stressful workplace? – Learn ways to take care of yourself while working in the addictions treatment field.

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