An extensive literature search was conducted which illustrated the dearth of research in the area of standardized addictions counselor competency development. There is a lack of standardized competency development systems which degrades the comparative validity between substance use disorder counseling and similar fields. Issues in the area of workforce recruitment, retention, and equitable wages can be tied to the absence of unified educational standards. Current counselor development systems cannot guarantee consistency in competence and qualifications. It has become a public health concern as consumers of services are interfacing with practitioners whose education originates from laissez faire counselor development systems. The purpose of this document is to offer a practice and policy direction which integrates learning theory into competency development practice.
Philip Ward has been an addiction treatment practitioner and educator since 1991. He holds a Master of Social Work from the State University of New York and is a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor. His instructional design and systems development work has been ongoing since 1996. Current interests involve a study of the dialogic intersect between counseling, spirituality, and education.