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Burton Fischler Reflecting on My CASAC Training Journey: Insights and Experiences

Burton Fischler Reflecting on My CASAC Training Journey: Insights and Experiences

Image of Burton Fishler to represent his casac training case study where he reflects upon his casac Journey

Burton Fischler shares his Experience, Strength, and Hope Along his CASAC Journey in the EECO CASAC Training Case Study. 

Burton Fischler obtained a Master’s Degree in Psychology from New York University. He completed coursework at EECO to become a CASAC, passed his IC&RC exam, and is now a CASAC-Advanced and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional-Level II.

Burton’s soon-to-be-published memoir is The Gift: Trauma to Triumph. He currently works at a medically supervised outpatient chemical dependency treatment center in New York City.

1. Introduction and Background

Years before starting my CASAC training program, I completed a Master’s in psychology at NYU and pursued various career paths, including family business and financial services. However, a personal tragedy led me to reflect on my life and eventually pursue substance abuse counseling.


2. Motivation and Program Choice


My motivation to become a CASAC was driven by my own family’s experiences with substance use disorders, mental illness, and trauma and my strong desire to help others facing similar challenges. I chose the online format of the program because it offered flexibility and accessibility, which was crucial for me during significant life changes.

I  have a personal understanding of the challenges that survivors of trauma face, and I want to use my experience to help others heal and thrive. I’m also aware of the importance of access to quality care. I believe that the online format of the CASAC program can make it more accessible to survivors who may not be able to participate in a traditional in-person program.

I am a strong and resilient individual, and I’m committed to making a difference in the lives of others.EECO is a valuable asset to the CASAC program, and you have given me the confidence to succeed in my new role. 

I found EECO to be extraordinarily committed to my long-term success. 


3. Online Training Experience


The online CASAC training program provided a comprehensive training experience combining theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The test preparation and structured courses were invaluable, as they laid a solid foundation for my CASAC online certification and future work in the recovery field. 

The CASAC online program’s training experience was thorough and engaging, facilitating a deeper understanding of the complexities of substance abuse counseling.

It integrated various counseling and therapeutic techniques, skills training, and educational supports, enabling a nuanced approach to treating addiction. 

This dynamic learning environment fostered an appreciation for the unique histories and challenges faced by individuals struggling with substance abuse. Furthermore, the program’s emphasis on cultural competence and the need for counselors from diverse backgrounds enriched my perspective, preparing me to serve a wide range of clients effectively.


4. Impact of Online Learning


The online format allowed me to learn at my own pace, which was beneficial in balancing my personal and professional life while acquiring the necessary skills and knowledge for substance abuse counseling.

The flexibility of the online CASAC training format was instrumental in accommodating my schedule, ensuring that I could integrate learning seamlessly into my daily life. 

This self-paced approach enabled me to deeply absorb and reflect on the course material, enhancing my understanding of the complex nature of substance abuse counseling. 

Additionally, the online environment provided access to many resources and materials, allowing for a more enriched learning experience. 

The ability to revisit lectures and materials as needed was beneficial, reinforcing my learning and ensuring a thorough grasp of the subject matter essential for effective counseling.


5. Training Challenges


Initially, the online format posed a challenge for me as it was a new way of learning. I was used to being in a classroom where I could ask questions and get immediate feedback from my teacher. In an online setting, getting the same level of support was challenging. I also found it difficult to stay motivated when I was learning on my own. 

However, I quickly adapted by using strategies such as taking screenshots for study aids and actively engaging in the online community. 

Taking screenshots of important information helped me to review the material later on. 

Engaging in the online community allowed me to connect with other students and ask for help when needed. These strategies helped me overcome online learning challenges and succeed in my classes.

6. Preparation for Real-World Situations


The training provided a strong foundation in substance abuse counseling, emphasizing empathy and understanding the underlying pain of addiction. It prepared me to approach diverse cases with a holistic perspective.

The training not only instilled in me a deep sense of empathy but also equipped me with the skills to communicate and connect with those grappling with addiction effectively. 

This comprehensive approach allowed me to see beyond the surface-level symptoms of substance abuse by exploring the complex biological, environmental, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual factors at play. 

Through this program, I learned the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel heard and understood, fostering trust and openness in the counseling relationship.

It also taught me the significance of employing various therapeutic techniques tailored to each individual’s unique experiences and challenges, enhancing the efficacy of the treatment process.


7. Notable Instructors and Resources


The program offered exceptional additional resources for in-depth exploration of various topics. For example, online databases of journal articles, books, and other materials were available to students 24/7. 

There were also opportunities to participate in live webinars and Q&A sessions with experts in the field. The multimodal learning approach I experienced during the program was very effective in helping me to learn and retain information. 

I could participate in lectures, watch videos, read articles, and participate in group discussions. This variety of learning activities helped me to understand the material more comprehensively. 

The multimodal learning approach also inspired me to develop a trauma recovery group curriculum later in my career. I wanted to create a program that would help people who had experienced trauma to heal and recover. I believe that the multimodal learning approach could be very effective in helping people to process their trauma and learn coping mechanisms.


8. Certification Process


After completing the training, I successfully passed the IC & RC exam. The course was comprehensive and ensured that I felt well-prepared. 

The certification process involved completing mandatory hours and undergoing a background check. 

The mandatory hours were spent learning about the different aspects of the job, such as patient assessment and screening, treatment planning, referral, service coordination, counseling, patient advocacy, family and community education, and cultural competency, as well as how to identify and respond to incidents, manage investigations, and communicate with the public. 

The background check was conducted to ensure I had no criminal history and was a fit and proper person to hold the certification.


9. Career Evolution


Since becoming a certified CASAC, I have grown professionally in several ways. I now handle a diverse caseload, which has allowed me to develop my skills in working with people from different backgrounds. 

I also find purpose in helping others, which has made my career more rewarding. While there have been challenges, I have learned much from them and become a more robust professional.

 I am grateful for the opportunity to work as a CASAC and to make a difference in the lives of others.


10. Advice for Aspiring Counselors


For good listeners with compassionate hearts, I encourage those considering enrolling in the CASAC Training program to embrace it fully. EECO empowers aspiring counselors to invest in personal and professional growth, and they will provide valuable tools for impactful counseling. 

The program is rigorous, but it is also gratifying. You will learn from some of the best in the field and have the opportunity to work with some of the most vulnerable populations. If you are passionate about counseling, the EECO CASAC Training program is the perfect opportunity.


11. Professional Development


In my CASAC journey of professional development, I have consistently sought to expand my expertise in the field of substance abuse and trauma recovery. My focus has been on developing comprehensive curriculums that not only impart knowledge but also address the nuanced challenges faced by those struggling with addiction. 

Platforms like Educational Enhancement CASAC  Online (EECO) have been instrumental in staying updated with the latest trends and effective practices in counseling. I will continue relying on EECO for all my professional development and CASAC renewal clock hours. They have an extensive list of professional development course offerings. They offer over 500 additional hours of addiction counselor courses online. 

These resources have also enabled me to connect with a community of professionals, fostering an environment of continuous learning and collaboration. 

Through teaching and curriculum development, I aim to contribute to the broader conversation on substance abuse treatment, sharing insights from my training and personal experiences. 

A deep-seated belief in the transformative power of effective counseling drives this commitment to ongoing education and skill enhancement.


12. My CASAC Journey’s Impact on My Quality of Life


Becoming a CASAC  has not only improved my quality of life but has also instilled in me a profound sense of empathy and compassion. 

It has allowed me to turn my challenging personal experiences into a source of strength and understanding, which I can share with those I counsel. 

This career path has provided me with a unique opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals struggling with addiction, offering them guidance and support in their journey toward recovery. 

The fulfillment that comes from seeing the positive impact of my work on others’ lives is immeasurable, reinforcing my commitment to this vocation.  

In addition, this role has expanded my perspective on the complexities of human behavior and the resilience of the human spirit, enriching my professional and personal growth.


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Embrace Effective Change! 

Why Choose Our CASAC Training Program?

  • Expert-designed curriculum: Dive into a wide range of critical topics, from the fundamentals of addiction counseling to advanced techniques in treatment and recovery.
  • Flexible Learning Options: Our program accommodates your busy schedule, offering flexible hours so you can balance your education with your personal and professional life.
  • Dynamic Learning Environment: Engage with interactive sessions and real-world scenarios that prepare you for the challenges and rewards of addiction counseling.
  • Dedicated Support: Benefit from ongoing support and guidance from seasoned professionals dedicated to your success in the program and beyond.

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  • Fundamentals of Addiction Counseling: Gain a solid foundation in the principles and practices of effective addiction counseling.
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Addiction Counselors: The Ultimate Guide of the 12 Core Functions of Addiction Counseling.

Addiction Counselors: The Ultimate Guide of the 12 Core Functions of Addiction Counseling.

Blog banner for Addiction Counselors 12 Core Functions of drug counseling.

If you plan to earn your addiction counseling certification, one of the first pieces of information you will encounter is related to the 12 Core functions for addiction counselors. To become an effective addiction counselor, you must be competent. When you succeed, the populations you serve have a chance for success (whatever success looks like to them) increases.

The core functions of addiction counseling encompass a wide range of essential tasks one must accomplish daily. Knowing the specifics behind these 12 Core Functions could provide a solid foundation for further exploration if you’ve ever pondered what addiction counselors do. A comprehensive set of criteria governs each function. This article will introduce the 12 Core Functions for addiction counselors and the corresponding global criteria that apply to each function.

Obtaining knowledge of the 12 Cofre Functions before starting your addiction counselor training because the functions will also serve as your map to developing a thorough understanding of your job roles and duties as an addiction specialist. 

Let’s jump in and take a quick look at the 12 core functions:

1. Screening

The screening process determines whether a client is appropriate for a substance use treatment program in need of assistance. Substance abuse counselors must understand addiction and its associated signs and symptoms to screen clients for a use disorder. Before an individual becomes a patient in any substance abuse counseling program, it is crucial to determine whether or not they are an ideal match for the program.

“The global criteria crucial to screening are as follows:

1. Evaluate the psychological, social, and physiological signs and symptoms of alcohol and other drug abuse.

2. Determine the client’s appropriateness for admission or referral.

3. Determine the client’s eligibility for admission or referral.

4. Identify any coexisting conditions (medical, psychiatric, physical, etc.) that indicate the need for additional professional assessment and services.

5. Adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and agency policies governing alcohol and other drug abuse services.”


What this criterion means:

Admitting a potential client for treatment can be a difficult decision. Intake drug counselors must use diagnostic criteria to determine if the person has a use disorder. Often, there are other factors to consider as well before making a final decision.

All counselors must be able to describe the criteria they use and demonstrate their competence by presenting specific examples of how the use of alcohol and other drugs has become dysfunctional for a particular client. Determining a client’s appropriateness for a program requires the counselor’s judgment and skill, and the program’s environment and modality influence it.

All counselors must be able to explain the standards they use to judge if a client is appropriate for their program. They also need to show that they know what they’re doing by giving examples of how someone might use alcohol or drugs in a way that’s harmful to themselves or others. Part of this process is understanding how the program’s environment and methods could influence someone’s behavior.

Shall we move the 2nd, 12 Core Core Function?

2. Intake

After you’ve determined that the client fits your program during the screening process, it is time to begin the intake or admissions process. During this process, treatment program clients complete paperwork unique to the facility. The paperwork often includes signing consent forms, rules and regulations, HIPAA forms, insurance information, demographic data, emergency contacts, an initial biopsychosocial assessment, and a client’s substance use disorder diagnosis.

“The global criteria crucial to Intake is as follows:

6. Complete the required documents for admission to the program.

7. Complete the required documents for program eligibility and appropriateness.

8. Obtain appropriately signed consents when soliciting from or providing information to outside sources to protect client confidentiality and rights.


What this criterion means for this core function:

The intake process is an essential step in counseling. You can consider it an extension of the initial screening. It helps to document the initial assessment and collect vital information from the client. This information helps the counselor understand the client’s needs and determine the best course of treatment. 

In many outpatient programs in NYS, the screening process usually occurs over 3 days. The new client will sit with a CASAC counselor, CASAC-T (counselor in training), or a specialized intake coordinator. 

3. Orientation

During this phase of your client education program, you help them understand the details of the overall program, and you will explain the rules and other regulations of the program. The intake counselor will also introduce the new client to staff while giving them a tour of the facility. During orientation, it is crucial to make new clients feel comfortable, safe, and respected. Their decision to enter a drug treatment program often creates fear and uneasiness for individuals first stepping into recovery.

“The global criteria crucial to orientation are as follows:


9. Provide an overview to the client by describing program goals and objectives for client care.

10. Provide an overview to the client by describing program rules and client obligations and rights.

11. Provide an overview to the client of program operations.” 


What this criterion means:

The orientation is an important part of the client’s journey. It often occurs before, during, and after the client’s screening and Intake. Orientation allows the client to learn more about what to expect from the treatment and ask any questions they may have. Other personnel, such as those specializing in medication, may be brought in for specific aspects of the orientation.

Let’s move to the 4th, 12 Core Core Function.

4. Assessment 

Assessing a client is essential to creating an individualized treatment plan that considers each person’s needs. Gathering information about their background, health status, and drug use patterns all contribute to the assessment process – which ultimately leads to an effective solution.

An assessment is an important part of any drug treatment program and helps better to understand your client’s history and current situation.

The assessment should include their backgrounds, drug use, and health concerns. This information can help to create an individualized treatment plan that meets your client’s needs.

In an assessment, a drug counselor identifies an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and needs to develop a treatment plan.

However, it is essential to note that each client is unique. Therefore no single approach will work for everyone. It is vital to take the time to get to know each client and their struggle before crafting a solution is essential.

“The global criteria crucial to assessment are as follows:

12. Gather relevant history from a client, including but not limited to alcohol and other drug abuse, using appropriate interview techniques.

13. Identify methods and procedures for obtaining corroborative information from significant secondary sources regarding the client’s alcohol and other drug abuse and psycho-social history.

14. Identify appropriate assessment tools.

15. Explain to the client the rationale for the use of assessment techniques to facilitate understanding.

16. Develop a diagnostic evaluation of the client’s substance abuse and any coexisting conditions based on the results of all assessments to provide an integrated approach to treatment planning based on the client’s strengths, weaknesses, and identified problems and needs.”


What this criterion means:

Although assessment is a continual process, there is more attention to this core function in early treatment. It comes from interviews, testing, and reviews of records.

The counselor evaluates different areas of life (for example, physical health, job development, social skills, legal Involvement, and psychological functioning) and sees how alcohol or drug use has impacted the client’s ability to function.

The results of this assessment should give some direction to treatment.

Have you noticed that each of the 12 Core Functions of addiction counselors builds on the previous function?

Attention CASACs and credentialed addiction counselors:

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online’s Screening, Assessment, and Evaluation detail the first four Core Functions for substance use counselors.


The 12 core functions of addition counselors is vital to the field and out CASAC training  is set up so you learn each of these functions.

Considering a Career as a substance use counseling professional?

If you are considering a career as a credentialed substance use counselor, our school follows the same pathway as the 12 Core Functions. You will also get an in-depth look at the science of addiction, ethics, cultural competence, and in other areas of professionalism. 

Alright, shall we keep moving through the 12 core functions of addiction counselors?

5. Treatment Planning

Once you have completed a detailed assessment, it’s time to plan your patient’s treatment. Of course, the patient will be involved during each step of the process, as it’s crucial that they understand the treatment plan and how and why the addiction counselor chose it.

The treatment plan goals and objectives will reflect the needs and changes your client wishes to address during treatment.

Update treatment goals regularly to stay on track with what your client wants to gain from treatment.

Prioritize each problem statement and plan according to the client’s preference, not your own. 

Remember, clients come to treatment with different backgrounds and addiction severity. Yet your client must determine the importance of each agreed upon short and long-term goal.  During the treatment planning core function, you’ll discuss the different treatment methods available to your patient and the resources available to support them through their treatment and recovery. It is essential to consider all of this when creating a treatment plan. New drug counselors sometimes forget that the treatment process should reflect the client’s needs and wants, not the counselor’s.

“The global criteria crucial to assessment are as follows:

17. Explain assessment results to the client in an understandable manner.

18. Identify and rank problems based on individual client needs in the written treatment plan.

19. Formulate agreed-upon immediate and long-term goals using behavioral terms in the written treatment plan.

20. Identify the treatment methods and resources appropriate for the individual client.”


What this criterion means:

The treatment goals/plan is based on the assessment and is a product of negotiation between the client and counselor. The language of the problem, goal, and strategy statements should be specific and expressed in behavioral terms.

The goal statements refer specifically to the identified problem and may include one or a set of objectives ultimately intended to solve or mitigate the problem.

When it comes to goal setting, counselors and clients should always err on the side of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

In other words, goals expressed in terms of change allow you to track progress based on the changes made.  Establish long-term goals immediately. 

Finally, the plan is a specific activity that links the problem with the goal. It describes the services, who will provide them, when, and at what frequency of servicing provision.

The treatment contract is based on the assessment and is a product of negotiation between the client and counselor. The goal statements refer specifically to the identified problem and may include one or a set of objectives ultimately intended to solve or mitigate the problem.

Change is the best indicator of progress in counseling. It can be challenging to determine client progress without specific goals for what you want to change. Try to break your larger goal into more manageable steps, and celebrate each accomplishment along the way! This goes for both immediate and long-term goals. There needs to be a plan or strategy in place that links the problem with the goal. The plan includes describing the services, who will provide the services, and when.

Treatment planning is a dynamic process. 

Throughout treatment, you and the client will update plans and goal statements accordingly.

Drug counselor education and training providers stress to new students the amount of paperwork involved with planning and carrying out the process of substance use counseling. While it may seem like a lot of work, this documentation is essential to helping patients manage their long-term recovery.

Attention Substance Use Treatment Professionals

Check out Educational Enhancement CASAC Online’s NAADAC and OASAS Approved Treatment Planning Client Record Keeping, and Discharge Planning drug counselor renewal training.

Finally, the next Core Function of addiction counseling is why you want to enter the addiction recovery field.

The 6th 12 Core function is …

6. Counseling

Counseling can involve many options, including individual, family, and group counseling. Counseling involves various interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, stages of change, or choice theory, to help patients deal with their issues.

Once a plan is in place, counseling begins.

The goal of counseling is to actively help and support the client in achieving the objectives of their treatment plan.

During counseling, the client will explore an issue, possible consequences and impact, how it relates to attitudes and feelings, and consider alternatives.

The process involves exploring a problem, examining attitudes and feelings, considering alternative solutions, and deciding.

“The global criteria crucial to counseling are as follows:

21. Select the counseling theory(ies) that apply(ies).

22. Apply technique(s) to assist the client, group, and family in exploring problems and ramifications.

23. Apply technique(s) to assist the client, group, and family in examining the client’s behavior, attitudes, and feelings, if appropriate, in the treatment setting.

24. Individualize counseling by cultural, gender, and lifestyle differences.

25. Interact with the client in an appropriate therapeutic manner. 

26. Elicit solutions and decisions from the client.

27. Implement the treatment plan.”


What this criterion means:

Counseling typically occurs after patients have taken several initial steps toward recovery, such as individual counseling, family counseling, and group counseling.

The counselor and client will work together to mitigate the problem statements by working together to complete treatment goals and objectives.

Special skills and interventions utilized to help individuals achieve objectives include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Reality Therapy or Choice Theory
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Recovery Management (relapse prevention)
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Strategic Family Therapy
  • Client-Centered Therapy 
  • and many other behavioral therapy approaches

Need a refresher on Individual Counseling, Foundations of Counseling, or Group Counseling?

Check out our  NAADAC and OASAS-approved drug counselor training courses. Click here to view our list of 500+ CASAC renewal or substance use counselor renewal training hours.

The 7th 12 Core Function is vital in building your client’s self-esteem and support in early recovery. 

7. Case Management

As a CASAC or other certified addiction counseling professional, you will create a plan for each patient that includes various services.

Case management can include the following:

  • finding 12-step programs or other mutual aid support groups,
  • identifying doctors to treat various physical ailments or mental health disorders,
  • job readiness,
  • GED or higher education applications,
  • housing, or
  • volunteer work.

Each case will be unique and designed to help your client build a network of support in early recovery.

“The global criteria crucial to case management are as follows:

28. Coordinate services for client care.

29. Explain the rationale of case management activities to the client. 


What this criterion means:

When addiction professionals perform case management, persons with use disorders can get help to meet their needs in many different areas.

When it comes to addiction, there tend to be a lot of associated problems that come along with it. That’s where case management comes in – the coordination of a plan involves multiple services. Oftentimes, persons with use disorders will need to meet with various professionals to meet other needs. These needs or issues often directly relate to their use disorder. For example, a person with a heroin use disorder might also have hepatitis, lack job skills, and have pending criminal charges. In this scenario, a substance abuse counselor will get consent to speak with the client’s medical team, career coach and vocational counselor, and attorney.

The counselor’s work with clients doesn’t stop at just monitoring medical treatment and making referrals. To create an effective treatment plan, the counselor must communicate with other professionals the client sees, such as family therapists, mental health professionals, recovery coaches, or parole and probation officers.

Do you think your caseload would benefit if you took a Case Management, Referral, and Service Coordination refresher?

Educational Enhancement has OASAS and NAADAC-approved 12-hour Case Management, Referral, & Service Coordination renewal training. 

The training is 100% online. Self-study. Self-paced. Your client caseload thrives when you work to keep your addiction counseling credential up-to-date, informed, and relevant to the ever-changing addiction recovery field.

The following core function is…

8. Crisis Intervention

Crisis intervention pertains to services that help people with use disorders during emotional and physical distress. Any crisis in early recovery requires immediate action to address its impact. When a crisis manifests from an emotional dilemma, it’s helpful to have a plan ready to help clients work through the situation and return to a more positive state of mind and body.

Crisis intervention is a lot like being a doctor.

You have to recognize the symptoms of a problem and then take action to solve it without hesitation.

Some crisis interventions include the following:

  • assessing a client for suicidal ideations
  • creating a suicide emergency plan
  • helping a client manage an event when they returned to use
  • managing grief
  • a detailed safety plan of action against intimate partner violence
  • divorce
  • death of a loved one
  • loss of a job

“The global criteria crucial to crisis intervention are as follows:

30. Recognize the elements of the client crisis.

31. Implement an immediate course of action appropriate to the crisis.

32. Enhance overall treatment by utilizing crisis events.” 


What this criterion means:

Crises can come in many forms, and counselors need to be able to identify them when they surface. Some everyday situations include the death of a loved one, relationship problems, arrest, suicidal thoughts, or mental health problems.

Counselors need to be able to help clients resolve the immediate problem and use adverse events to enhance treatment efforts, if possible.

A crisis is a turning point in treatment that could jeopardize or end the treatment process. Crisis can sometimes be caused by alcohol or drug use (for example, an overdose or returning to active use) or unrelated to substance abuse.

Let’s move on to the 9h core function…

9. Client Education

Addiction is a disease, and most people (especially persons with use disorders users) are unaware of what drug and alcohol use can do.

Many clients are in denial regarding their substance use disorder or other problems.

Counselors have the unique opportunity to educate their clients using formal and informal interventions. They assist in teaching life skills that lead to better decision-making and more.

Addiction counselors help to educate clients about support services and addiction itself. An essential aspect of this core function is educating clients to make more informed decisions about their care and treatment. Learning about the many resources available to them is vital to effective treatment. 

“The global criteria crucial to client education are as follows:

33. Present relevant alcohol and other drug use/abuse information to the client through formal and informal processes.

34. Present information about available alcohol and other drug services and resources.”


What this criterion means:

Client education is an integral part of treatment. In some programs, clients will participate in formal classes with reading materials and films. Other programs might offer outpatient counseling where the counselor will provide relevant information to the client individually or informally.

Client education may include information about self-help groups and other available resources to clients and their families.

When applying for a job in this field, you must be able to provide examples of the type of education you have provided to clients and how it is relevant to their case.

Let’s move on to #10 of the 12 Core Functions of Addiction Counselors…

10. Referral

Part of providing effective case management is identifying the areas where you can’t help your client and finding other services that can.

For example, if your client has bipolar disorder, been diagnosed with an eating disorder or diabetes, finding professionals to help meet their needs is critical to a successful recovery.

“The global criteria crucial to referral are as follows:

35. Identifying need(s) and problem(s) that the agency and counselor cannot meet.

36. Explain the rationale for the referral to the client.

37. Match client needs and problems to appropriate resources.

38. Adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and agency policies governing procedures protecting the client’s confidentiality.

39. Assist the client in utilizing available support systems and community resources. “


What this criterion means:

Your clients will have many unique needs, and you possibly cannot help them successfully navigate through all of them. 

In these situations, it’s up to you to figure out what they need and pass them off to the right service or providers that can help them.

Part of providing effective substance use treatment is identifying the areas where you can’t help your client and finding other services that can.

For example, suppose they need help with bipolar disorder or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder or diabetes. In that case, finding professionals to help meet their needs is critical to a successful recovery.

Referrals play an essential role in case management and treatment planning. They can help ensure clients receive the care they need before, during, and after treatment.

When performing the 12 Core Function -referral, it’s vital that you follow all laws, regulations, and policies that govern referrals.


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You’ve almost reached the end of the 12 Core Functions of Addiction Counselors. 

Let’s keep going to the 11th core function…

11. Reporting & Record Keeping

The eleventh core function allows you to put your administrative skills to use. Recording and charting the assessment and treatment results helps you establish working techniques and improve your ability to meet your client’s needs.

You’ll analyze relevant information, including assessments, treatment plans, court, parole, probation, ACS reports, progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client-related data. Maintaining organization and patient confidentiality is crucial in this line of work.

“The global criteria crucial to reporting and record-keeping are as follows:

40. Prepare reports and relevant records integrating available information to facilitate the continuum of care.

41. Chart the ongoing information about the client.

42. Utilize relevant information from written documents for client care.”


What this criterion means:

Documentation and record-keeping are essential for addiction counselors.

By documenting the client’s progress, the counselor can:

  • communicate more effectively with co-workers,
  • get feedback from the supervisor promptly, and
  • provide valuable information about other services that may benefit the client.

Maintaining professionalism is essential when providing this documentation.

Finally, the last core function of addiction counseling is…

12. Consultation With Other Professionals

The last core function acknowledges that addiction counselors often have to work with other professionals inside and outside their facility. Clinicians learn the skills and knowledge needed through education, training, and experience. However, there will be times when counselors encounter an issue beyond their skill set. When this happens, consulting with other professionals with more experience or knowledge in that area is crucial.

“The global criteria crucial to consultation with other professionals are as follows:

43. Recognize issues beyond the counselor’s knowledge and skill base.

44. Consult with appropriate resources to ensure effective treatment services.

45. Adhere to applicable laws, regulations, and agency policies governing the disclosure of client-identifying data.

46. Explain the rationale for the consultation to the client, if appropriate.”


What this criterion means:

Substance abuse counselor aims to ensure their clients receive high-quality, comprehensive care. Counselors need to be able to work with other professionals, both inside and outside their organization.

Consulting with other professionals might include knowing when to refer a client to another counselor with more expertise or understanding of when to ask for help from colleagues.

Recognizing when you need to consult with other professionals is crucial for any counselor.

Consultation is an integral part of the decision-making process. It allows stakeholders to come together and discuss the best course of action for a particular client or situation.

Effective consultations function best with the client’s entire treatment team. A group consultation or case conference considers different perspectives, which is a more comprehensive approach. As the primary counselor, you can make final decisions about client care however consulting with other professionals is more in the client’s best interest.

You made it. 

Counselors are an essential component of every treatment facility. 

The 12 core functions are the blueprint for effective substance use treatment. Learning the details of each is fundamental to your career.

In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss each of the 12 core functions of addiction counselors in depth.

Please share this post with a colleague or friend. 

Follow the 12 Core Functions blueprint for addiction counselor training and education, so you can help these young homeless youth, pictured here, transition into a life of purpose and happiness.

Earn your Certificate with our hybrid addiction counseling training.

Our program is 100% online in a hybrid environment. You will learn via self-paced learning incorporating all learning styles, such as videos, workbooks, other resources, and short assessments. Not only will you be working at your own pace, but you will also have virtual instructor-led training to strengthen counseling skills, help you think critically and outside the box, and ask questions of our excellent staff. Our program design lets you move through the distance learning training own pace to achieve certification.

At Educational Enhancement CASAC Online, we can help you fulfill all the educational requirements to earn your addiction counseling certificate. This includes thoroughly understanding the 12 Core Functions and everything else you might need to pass the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam. In other words, we’ve got you covered from start to finish!

You can complete our program in six months. The training is 100% online, with rolling admissions to get started anytime. We offer a high-quality curriculum that instructors teach with real-world experience. Many of our instructors are still working in the addiction counseling industry, so that they can provide you with the most up-to-date information and training.

Here at Educational Enhancement CASAC Online, we’re proud to offer addiction counseling courses that can help students earn their Certificates no matter which states they reside in.

Our online courses are transferable to 47 states thanks to our membership with IC&RC and approval as an education provider in multiple states.

Plus, our curriculum has received approval from IC&RC, OASAS-approved, and NAADAC-approved.

If you’re interested in getting started with our addiction counseling program, the first step is to click the

Get Started button below. From there, you can access our application and a quick contact form.

If you have questions about our program or how to earn your addiction counseling certificate, please get in touch with us.

We’re always happy to help!

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification 

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification 

A woman in front of a computer maximizing her benefits in online study of drug counselor certification

Millions of people are choosing to study online for a variety of reasons.

Here are five top benefits of online study for addiction counseling certification and certification renewal.

Do you ever dread having to keep a commitment after a long day of trudging through life in your unfulfilling career? Do you feel you might have made the wrong career choice?

Millions of people change their careers several times throughout their lifetime, and so can you.

But you fear that your job demands too much how can you find time to study when you don’t even have the energy to spend time with your family after a long day of unfulfilling work?

If you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to say that you’re in the market for a career change.

One fulfilling career with an exponential growth rate is pursuing a substance use disorder counselor career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow by 23% from 2020 to 2030.

This is much faster than the average for all occupations. It is estimated that around 41,000 openings for these types of counselors will become available each year on average over the next decade.

Many of these vacancies will result from workers transferring to other occupations or exiting the labor force. However, there is still the issue of not having time to pursue the 350 hours of education to become a drug counselor when your current career is sucking your will to live out of you.

This is the reality for many of us – our careers drain our life, but making a career change seems too demanding. When will you find the time?

Going to class after work seems exhaustive. Putting your family on hold causes guilt and further longing for change. Don’t worry.

You can still join the thousands of people who have found fulfillment by changing their careers with the help of online drug counselor education and training.

Keep reading to learn why online education removes many entry-level barriers blocking your path from pursuing a fulfilling career as an addiction counselor.

Look at the five significant benefits of online CASAC education and training.

*FTR:  If you need to renew your CASAC credential or any other addiction counseling credential, these five benefits pertain to you, too! Without further interruption, let’s jump in.

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification


1. Flexibility and online education

“Because you get to set your schedule and study only when you have time, eLearning makes learning not something you have to get over with, but something you look forward to!” Mark Hayes, Head of Marketing at Kintell

There are many benefits to online drug counselor education, including flexibility and accessibility.

For example, students can learn at their own pace and from anywhere. One of the benefits of online education is its flexibility. Many students can study from home, which can be more comfortable.

Additionally, online courses often allow for more individualized instruction. This means that students can receive help from a tutor or professor when needed, making the learning process more efficient. When you study with Educational Enhancement CASAC Online, you never have to worry about traditional classroom or webinar-based learning such as:

  • interruptions people talking to one another,
  • disruptive classmates,
  • disinterested students who fidget and leave the room often
  • long-drawn-out tangents (from students or facilitators), taking away from the material presented
  • presenters/facilitators/ instructors  drawn off-topic

2. Taking online classes is cost-effective

“Online learning is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-effective ways to educate the world’s rapidly expanding workforce.” – Jack Messman, former CEO at Novel

In recent years, online courses have become increasingly popular among students worldwide.

There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is that online classes are often cost-effective, and many online courses are cheaper than traditional classroom programs.

Online drug counseling educational courses do not have service fees, technology fees, or student association fees as conventional academic institutions or classroom programs.  

Not having to get to the classroom by any specific time each day allows you to spend less time hustling around the city trying to get to school after work or waiting impatiently at home for the sitter to show up. 

Not to mention paying the sitter’s commuting costs (gas, parking, tolls, etc.). Having to hustle to a classroom after work can leave you feeling like you’re missing out on necessary family time.

Alternatively, you may have to go to school or attend a webinar that takes you away from home and family. In either case, you’re sacrificing quality family time.

Second, many online courses allow you to take multiple sessions, which means you can get more out of each.

Finally, online classes often have built-in grading systems, which means you can get your credits in less time. Additionally, online courses are often cost-effective since they do not require expensive equipment or facilities.

Many online schools offer scholarships and other financial assistance to make learning more affordable.

For example, Educational Enhancement currently works with ACCESS VR in New York State to help students with full scholarships.

Free guide to addiction counselor (CASAC) credentialing

A Free Guide to Addiction Counseling Credentialing

Your new career as an addiction counseling professional doesn’t have to be daunting. Our FREE guide to the addiction counselor credentialing process is as easy as saying 1, 2, 3. Your FREE Guide comes with a subscription to our newsletter. (You are subscribing to email updates. Unsubscribe Any time.) Be the CHANGE we Need!  

3. Why self-directed CASAC online learning provides deeper learning and understanding

You can’t teach people everything they need to know, and the best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” – Seymour Papert, MIT mathematician, educator, and computer scientist.


Self-directed CASAC online learning provides deeper learning and understanding because it allows students to work at their own pace and customize their learning experience. Drug counselor online learning will enable students to focus on the most important topics and allow them to explore the material in a more in-depth way.

Learning online allows you the right to review the material on an engaging platform as many times as you like. On the other hand, classroom or webinar-based learning gives you one shot to absorb everything said during a presentation. Unfortunately, getting distracted can easily cause you to miss important information during a presentation. The worse part is that you never know what is essential and what isn’t necessary to learn a new skill when following a career path. You can always log in and review previous sessions when studying drug counseling online.

Additionally, online learning programs provide support and encouragement through alternative online study groups, accountability partnerships, and several ways to reach instructors for further explanation and coaching.

4. The quality of 20 minutes of focussed online learning


“Where my reason, imagination, or interest was not engaged, I would not, or I could not learn.”
– Winston Churchill

There is no doubt that online learning offers many benefits for students, such as flexibility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. However, one of the most significant benefits of online study is the quality of the learning experience. Online learning allows you to monitor and regulate your process of knowledge, and Online learning helps you create your pathway of learning. In short, Online education teaches you how to learn.

Online learning, when done right, engages you to push forward. You can sign in and log 20 minutes of focussed online learning anywhere and anytime, and you cannot do this when waiting to get into the classroom.

A study conducted by the University of South Wales found that students who undertook online learning scored higher on assessments than students who undertook face-to-face learning. This study suggests that online learning is convenient and cost-effective and provides high-quality learning opportunities.

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online provides links to academic journals, articles, and case studies to further your knowledge of essential addiction counseling issues and topics. Understanding addiction/ recovery academic literature published gives students a head start preparing for the IC & RC certification exam. Most certification exam writers scour academic literature when designing certification exams on academic literature. If you want to achieve the highest possible score on your certification exam, investing in quality online self-directed learning is essential.

5. Why completing 350 hours of self-directed online study opens more career opportunities

“When training is done well, doors open, skills development, and performance excellences yield personal and organizational rewards.”
-Michael Allen, Chairman & CEO, Allen Interactions



Completing an initial CASAC 350 clock hour education program online shows that you take your career focus seriously and search, find and implement solutions to overcome obstacles. Online drug counselor educational programs often have more rigorous coursework than traditional classroom-based programs, which can help you develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed for a successful career as a drug counselor.

As you progress through a self-directed online learning system, you’ll develop positive attitudes and beliefs about yourself that increase your academic perseverance. And prompt you to engage in productive academic behaviors. Completing the Educational Enhancement’s CASAC 350- hour online program shows employers your level of commitment in seeing work through to completion, meeting your goals, and doing quality work.

Developing self-awareness is one of the most critical areas of development for any addiction counselor. Learning to study online forces you to take a look inside to learn how to apply yourself to the pursuit of your goals. Studying online forces you to understand your values and why you pursue learning. Learning online helps you become self-aware of how to apply the knowledge you are learning to your career as an addiction counselor, to engage values intimately, and what works best for you when it comes to self-improvement, self-care, and continuing education.

By completing 350 hours of self-directed online study, you can open up many career opportunities because you show employers your willingness and motivation to set goals and follow through without constant instruction.




“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” 
– paraphrase of a Charles Marshall quote in Shattering the Glass Slipper


The future of education is online learning. This means that people will be learning through the internet using things like eLearning (learning through a computer), mobile learning (learning through a phone or tablet), and distance education (learning from a teacher who is not in the same room as you). People are using these technologies to access information and skills that they wouldn’t be able to get before. Leaders in different fields and leaders involved with substance abuse counseling education and training are starting to see the potential that online learning is the future.

This article covered five benefits to online study for drug counselor certification.

One benefit is that it is convenient for students. Many online programs allow for flexibility in when and where you study, which can help you fit learning around your busy schedule. Online study will enable students to look at their own pace and schedule. It also allows students to study from home, which can benefit those who have difficulty attending class in person.

Finally, the online study allows students to receive feedback, one-on-one instruction, coaching, and mentoring on their work, which helps you understand addiction and apply the information you obtained to make clinical-based decisions and improve skills and knowledge.

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online is an OASAS approved education and training provider. We look forward to serving all of your addiction counselor continuing education needs. Fire off a quick email to say hi, ask a question, or suggest any content you feel will help you succeed in the field as a substance use counseling professional. about what content you would like us to provide for you

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