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Substance Abuse Counselors With and Without a Personal History of Clinical Dependency: A Review of the Literature

NCJ Number
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: 2000 Pages: 67-82
John R. Culbreth Ph.D.
Date Published
16 pages
This study reviews the literature on differences between substance abuse counselors who do and do not have a personal history of chemical addiction.
The study examined 16 reports that addressed the issue of differences based on counselor recovery status. Research consistently supported a number of key points: (1) Clients do not perceive differences in treatment effectiveness based on the recovery status of the counselor; (2) There appear to be no differences in treatment outcome between recovering and non-recovering counselors; (3) Recovering and non-recovering counselors use different treatment methods and perceive substance abuse problems in different ways; and (4) Personality and attitude differences between recovering and non-recovering counselors may influence the treatment environment. The article suggests that researchers should put aside the argument about which group is more effective in working with clients. Instead, they should begin a systematic collection of data examining differences in the counseling process and differences in how the therapeutic relationship is developed by recovering and non-recovering counselors. Table, references