Addictions Training Institute – News


Top FAQs for Alcohol and Drug Counselors

March 24,2023

Alcohol and drug counselors play a critical role in helping individuals overcome addiction and regain control of their lives. These professionals provide support, guidance, and education to clients struggling with addiction, helping them navigate the often difficult road to recovery. There is an increasing need for well trained professionals in the field of substance abuse counseling. If you’re considering a career as an alcohol and drug counselor, or you’re seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one, you may have some questions.

Here are some of the top FAQs for alcohol and drug counselors.

1. What does an alcohol and drug counselor do?

An alcohol and drug counselor is a mental health professional who works with individuals struggling with addiction. They help clients understand and address the underlying causes of their addiction, provide education on the effects of drugs and alcohol, and develop personalized treatment plans.

2. What kind of education and training is required to become an alcohol and drug counselor?

Education and training requirements vary depending on the state and the employer, but most alcohol and drug counselors have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field, such as psychology, social work, or counseling. Many states require counselors to be licensed, which typically involves completing a certain number of supervised clinical hours and passing an exam.

3. What is the job market for alcohol and drug counselors?

Job opportunities for alcohol and drug counselors continue to increase in number. Certified alcohol and drug counselors work within an array of settings, such as outpatient/residential drug treatment centers, hospitals, colleges, churches, and government agencies. There is a high demand for qualified substance abuse professionals, as our nation’s need for treatment services continues to grow while our current workforce is retiring.

4. How long does it take to become an alcohol and drug counselor?

The amount of time it takes to become an alcohol and drug counselor varies depending on the individual’s training, as well as the type of counseling you wish to provide and the level of education you have already achieved. Generally, it takes at least two years to earn an associate’s degree and four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree can take an additional two to three years. Licensure requirements vary by state but may take an additional one to two years. If you already have a degree in a related field, you may be able to complete additional coursework in addiction counseling or a related area.

5. What are the different types of addiction treatment programs?

There are several different types of addiction treatment programs, including inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and sober living homes. Inpatient treatment involves living at a treatment center and receiving intensive therapy and support. Outpatient treatment allows clients to live at home and attend therapy sessions on a regular basis. Sober living homes provide a supportive living environment for individuals who have completed treatment and are transitioning back into society.

6. What types of therapy are used in addiction treatment?

Addiction treatment typically involves a combination of individual and group therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common approach that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Motivational interviewing is another popular therapy that helps clients explore their ambivalence about recovery and make positive changes. There are a number of alternative therapies that complement traditional treatment for mental health diseases.

7. What should I look for in an alcohol and drug counselor?

When seeking an alcohol and drug counselor, it’s important to look for someone who is licensed and has experience working with clients who have similar needs. Look for someone who is empathetic, non-judgmental, and who uses evidence-based practices. It’s also important to feel comfortable and safe with your counselor, so take the time to find someone who is a good fit for you.

8. How can I help a loved one who is struggling with addiction?

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, it’s important to approach them with empathy and compassion. Encourage them to seek professional help and offer to assist them in finding treatment options. It’s also important to establish healthy boundaries and avoid enabling their addiction. Support from families is essential to recovery.

Becoming an alcohol and drug counselor requires education, training, and licensure, and it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career. For individuals struggling with addiction, seeking the help of a professional counselor can be the first step in the journey to recovery. By understanding therole of alcohol and drug counselors and the various treatment options available, individuals and their loved ones can make informed decisions about seeking help and support.

We offer Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate Programs for those who want to prepare to become a substance abuse counselor. The Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate Program consists of 7 modules of instruction, plus 45 hours of supervised practicum and minimum of 255 hours of on-site clinical instruction designed around your schedule.

Our Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certificate Program is specifically designed to meet the educational requirements for drug counselor certification. Each course is focused on required content as specified by the 12 Core functions as required by state regulations and International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC) standards.


Making a difference in people’s lives: Regina Di Pasquale

March 18,2023

Our mission is to make the world a better place by training the people who help others. We’re proud to be a part of our students’ journeys toward making a difference, and each month we feature a student who is on the path to truly making an impact on the lives of others. Meet our Student of the Month, Regina Di Pasquale:

My name is Regina Pasquale. I work in detox at Monarch Shores, where I am an operations supervisor. I love spending time with family and watching my daughter play soccer. I am in a relationship, I have an 11.5-year-old daughter, and am currently 5 months pregnant with another girl. I am passionate about helping people.

I have a vocational degree in AA as well as fashion design. I attended FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) and Diablo Valley College.

I pursued education for drug and alcohol counselor related roles because I wanted to further educate myself so I can help more people. I chose ATI because a co-worker attended ATI and loved it, so I signed up! What I like most about ATI is that the professors are so helpful, friendly, and supportive. Taking courses online made it much easier for me to obtain my educational goals.

What I like most about my current job is making a difference in people’s lives. I love to help people that need help. I’m currently at Monarch Shores and love it; I’m where I need to be. In the future, I plan on moving up and continuing to make a difference here at the company.


3 sleep tips that can help with depression

March 18,2023

Sleeping well at night can help ease the symptoms of depression. However, the opposite is also true – if you’re not getting enough sleep, your depression may be difficult to manage. Or you might be sleeping poorly because you’re depressed. Together, sleep and depression’s close ties can create a cycle that’s hard to break.

So what can you do to get better sleep and, in turn, help with depression?

1. Plan for a good night’s sleep during the day. Sleep isn’t just about what you do at night — what you do during the day can either positively or negatively impact how well you rest that night. There are several ways to prepare your mind and body for a good night of sleep. Try to get outside everyday. Did you know that sunlight keeps your natural sleep-wake rhythm on track? You should also exercise daily, avoiding doing so too close to bedtime. And if you choose to nap, keep it to 20-30 minutes in the early or middle part of the afternoon.

2. Keep it boring. Boring is best when it comes to your bedtime routine. Overstimulation can delay your wind-down time, as can starting a new, involved task or having a stressful conversation. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time everyday can feel dull, but remember that you can switch things up in other areas of your life. Allowing your mind and body to get used to the boring bedtime routine will help you in the long run. Getting enough rest, especially when dealing with depression, is extremely important — more so than staying up late watching tv or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

3. Get out of bed. If you’re not tired and just find yourself tossing and turning, get out of bed and leave your bedroom to read, meditate, listen to music or relax. Once you’re sleepy, get back into bed. This will help you and your brain associate your bed and bedroom with restful sleep, rather than sleep problems.

Depression is tough, and when dealing with depression and sleep difficulties, the challenges can feel overwhelming. While getting plenty of rest is always important, it’s not always that easy. Seeking professional help could be the key to feeling better.


Healthcare providers: ways to handle your own stress and anxiety

March 18,2023

Working in the healthcare field, whether as a therapist, social worker, counselor, addictions professional or other mental health professional, you’re treating and supporting others as they struggle to handle life’s stressors. However, many people forget that, just like everyone else, healthcare providers also experience burnout and stress in their own lives. So as a healthcare provider, how can you handle your own stress and anxiety in order to take care of your own emotional well-being?

Here are several ways that professionals can care for themselves when feeling “stressed out”:

1. Tap into your “stress signals” and respond accordingly. Make it a habit to check in with yourself, knowing and understanding how your body is reacting to daily life stressors and the extra challenges life throws your way. When you’re noticing things like an elevated heart rate, nervous energy, or tense muscles, ask yourself what you can do to return to your calm, relaxed state. Finding the things that work for you — whether it be meditation, a calming walk, or even distracting yourself by doing something you love like cooking or listening to music — will give you the tools to use when you find yourself becoming stressed and in need of self-intervention.

2. Prioritize to prevent overwhelm. We all have times that our to-do list seems endless, or our patient workload feels extreme, or we can’t figure out where to start first. Determine your top priorities at that moment and put the others aside; practicing this can help you become more comfortable allowing certain tasks to wait. It can be difficult to do this, but keeping your stress levels in check requires allowing yourself to let go of the idea that you MUST do it all. For example, you may prioritize calling in a patient’s prescription over responding to a non-urgent email.

3. Write it down (to work it out). Journaling has recently become a more trendy practice, but many who have been in the field for years began writing things down as students. Journaling can help you track progress, recognize patterns and identify stress triggers. It can be a powerful tool in connecting your emotional state to your experiences, both personally and professionally.

4. Build a routine that works for you — and stick to it. Creating a consistent, reliable routine can give you something to fall back on when things get tough. You’ll know what to expect, and therefore be better equipped to handle any stressful curveballs that come your way. Your routine will be unique to you — and could include quiet time or early morning workouts, pre-planning your meals, getting in time to read or journal and prioritizing a good night’s rest. Sticking to a routine, even if loosely, will give you the satisfaction of harnessing some control, even during challenging times.

By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to provide exceptional care for your patients. Because if you’re going to help others with their mental health and wellness, it becomes extra important to take care of your own.


Finding the right mental health treatment plan

March 13,2023

Knowing how to ask for help when you need it can be difficult, but taking a preventative approach to your mental health care allows the time to find quality care that is the right fit for you. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all; it’s absolutely personal to you and what your needs are. Giving yourself the time to find care before your symptoms outweigh your capacity to cope can make a huge difference in addressing your concerns in a timely way.

For some, brief or short-term therapy is necessary for learning new coping skills and techniques to self-manage their current mental health difficulties. For others, therapy might be part of a long-term treatment plan.

To know whether the care you’re receiving is both effective and the right fit for you, consider the following:

1. Distress tolerance is part of the process. Treatment can (and typically will be!) uncomfortable at some points. But paying attention to how you feel your therapist navigates the distress is important. When a topic causes discomfort, your therapist should engage you gently and intentionally to determine your limits, insights and awareness.

2. You should be an active participant in your care. You must be invested in the process of your treatment. Your therapist will guide and support you through the process, but they can’t do it alone.

3. The energy in the room matters. The work involved in therapy can and should bring energy and trust to the room. Do you feel like you can be your authentic self during your sessions? Do you feel supported and validated in your feelings? Good therapy requires a certain level of trust to be successful.

Feeling seen and safe are important parts of successful treatment. Finding the proper treatment is essential to walking the path of recovery.


Florida Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, your current licenses expire at midnight, Eastern Time on March 31, 2023

March 13,2023

Florida Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, your current licenses expire at midnight, Eastern Time on March 31, 2023!

It’s time to get your professional license renewed and we are here to help you. You can obtain the CE classes required to renew your license at, where we have over 500 online courses to assist you in the renewal process. is approved by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (Board Approved Provider BAP # 852).

Required Courses You Will Need:

Course 97: Medical Errors- Prevention Of (2 Credits)

Course 269: Domestic Violence: Review & Identifying Risk Factors (2 Credits)

Course 1193: Florida Laws and Rules for Social Workers, Counselors, and Family Therapist (3 Credits)

Course 146: Ethics, Confidentiality, and Boundaries – (3 credits)

Remember, failure to renew an active or inactive license by the expiration date will result in the license being placed in delinquent status. We’re here to help you stay current in your licensure and continue in your journey toward helping others!


Sleep Awareness Week: The connection between sleep and health

March 01,2023

Addiction not only affects the person who abuses drugs and/or alcohol, but also those around them.

The connection between sleep and health is real. When we’re consistently getting better sleep, our overall health is positively impacted — and when we’re not, we notice the negative impacts as well. National Sleep Foundation’s 2023 Sleep Awareness Week is March 12-18, when the organization focuses on reemphasizing the important connection between your sleep and your health and well-being. Throughout the week, the organization provides research-based advice on the benefits of being your “best slept self” — and we’re looking forward to putting those plans into action for our best sleep health.

Why is good sleep so important? Sufficient sleep, specifically REM sleep, helps the brain to effectively process emotional information. When you’re asleep, your brain is working to evaluate and remember memories and thoughts — so lack of sleep is harmful to the processing and storing of positive emotional content. As you’d imagine, this can really influence your mood, among other things.

Research shows that mental health problems are directly connected to sleep, where sleeping problems may be both a cause and consequence of mental health problems. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep nightly has many benefits, including more energy, improved mood, better focus, improved immune system and better overall health.

Set yourself up for your best sleep ever by:

  • – Creating a solid bedtime routine, including turning off electronics an hour before bed.
  • – Practice nightly relaxation techniques.
  • – Get regular exercise and daylight daily.
  • – Make your bedroom your own personal oasis, with cozy bedding and a dimmed atmosphere.
  • – Sticking to your set bedtime and committing to getting the rest you need to be your best self.


6 tips for supporting someone recovering from addiction

March 01,2023

Addiction not only affects the person who abuses drugs and/or alcohol, but also those around them. It’s incredibly difficult to watch a loved one — be it a friend, family member, partner, or even colleague — struggle with alcohol or substance use disorder. Since substance abuse impacts all races, cultures, ages and genders, every part of society has been affected by addiction. Families, jobs, lives and communities are destroyed every day by alcohol and drug addiction. If you have a loved one recovering from addiction, you may feel helpless, frustrated, and mentally and emotionally drained. You may wonder if there’s any way you can help your loved one as they go through recovery.

Support from families is essential to recovery. If you have loved ones who are in recovery, there are things you can do to show your support:

1. Have calm, well-thought out conversations with your loved one. Casually checking in on your loved one’s mental health means making it clear that your worry comes from a place of love. Make sure you’re offering support, not accusations. A genuinely caring call or visit from a loved one can be crucial to help keep someone in recovery on their journey. This also helps you keep track of how they’re coping, and gives you an opportunity to offer support and a shoulder to lean on during the difficult times.

2. Be patient with the process. Like any journey in life, recovery is not always easy. It’s typically not a straightforward path. There will be challenging times, and may even be some setbacks along the way. Resilience is not only key to someone in recovery, but to the loved ones in their lives as well. The listening ear of someone with compassion, empathy and a lack of judgment can help restore hope. This small gesture goes a long way.

3. Don’t tell them what is best for them. Even if you think you know best, don’t offer advice — but do offer resources that can help. Finding out what help is available is a great way to connect and show care. Arming yourself with the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery is important. Find out about different treatment options and programs in your area.

4. Remain positive and hopeful. There’s power in positive thinking, and expressing those positive thoughts to someone who is deep in the trenches of recovery can really help them see the light at the end of a potentially long and difficult struggle. Change is possible, and your loved one is in the process of changing their whole lives. Staying positive and sharing hope as they face the challenges ahead can help them stay the course.

5. Practice empathic listening. Using active listening techniques combined with a reflection of feelings and empathy to better understand the speaker, empathic listening will help your loved one feel comfortable and confident to share their feelings and experiences with you.

6. Take care of yourself. When helping a loved one recover, it’s completely normal to feel stressed, anxious or angry about the situation. You may find that you’re spending all your time thinking about your loved one, and you forget about taking time to care for yourself. Joining a support group for loved ones of people with addiction or seeking individual counseling to help you cope may be good ideas. There are a number of resources for those whose lives have been affected by another person’s drinking. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Although alcohol and substance use disorders are common, not everyone receives the support they need to recover. Despite the prevalence of these conditions, recovery is possible. Learn more about how you can support your loved one through recovery at It is absolutely possible for those struggling with addiction to recover and live happy, full lives.


Building Stronger Mental Health Support for Caregivers

March 01,2023

Rosalyn Carter once said, “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.”

Caregivers, also known as “home care workers,” strengthen our communities by providing care, companionship and support for older adults and people with health conditions and disabilities. A caregiver’s work allows their clients to live at home with dignity, while providing peace of mind to their families.

Like many essential roles, caregiving is physically and emotionally taxing. Amidst the demands of caring for others, caregivers’ mental health is overlooked. In fact, estimates show 40-70% of caregivers have depressive symptoms, with 25-50% of caregivers meeting criteria for major depression. This can be due to compounding stressors, like time or financial constraints, social isolation inherent to the job and limited support systems.

An understanding of the unique challenges of the profession, and its structural policy gaps, can inform the work to build systems to support caregivers’ mental health.

Caregiving Is Demanding Work

Many caregivers say they “fell into” this work but continued doing it because they found their calling. Despite the passion they feel, the challenges are significant. As Brittany Williams, a caregiver from Tacoma, Washington shared, “People don’t understand that, when you’re a caregiver, you’re literally using every part of your body and energy and strength to take care of people.”

This strain was exacerbated by the COVD-19 pandemic. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows two-thirds of unpaid caregivers experience mental health symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, compared to one-third of the non-caregiving population.

While more than one in five Americans are unpaid caregivers, those who are paid — either for supporting a loved one or a client — receive modest wages. As one of health care’s lowest paid professions, caregivers may need to work long hours to make ends meet, often leading to physical and emotional exhaustion. Those caring for a loved one may navigate difficult emotions, including loss of control, isolation or the feeling that caregiving is all-consuming.

Caregiving was one of the few professions left out of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, meaning generations of caregivers have been without the support and protections many workers depend on.

These factors contribute to a profession that has lacked infrastructure to support the wellness of its workers who are often women of color and immigrants who may already face structural barriers to health equity and economic inclusion.

We Need Better Systems To Support Caregivers’ Mental Health

Our families and communities need caregivers. And for caregivers to be successful, they (like any profession) require systems that support their well-being and sustain them in their work.

We all have a role to play in building this solution. SEIU 775 Benefits Group, a nonprofit organization supporting 50,000 caregivers in Washington state through training, health, retirement and job-matching benefits that I have the honor of leading, is committed to supporting caregiver mental health in the face of the profession’s challenges and structural gaps.

Here are four areas where we’ve found success — and where we hope other organizations will follow suit:

Teaching skills to work with stress: One effective way to support the mental health of caregivers is to provide practical tools to work with stressors. Mindfulness has been shown to promote calm, relaxation and better sleep. By integrating mindfulness training into our courses, caregivers learn skills to identify and work through emotional challenges. Among participating caregivers, we’ve seen decreases of 20% in depression scores, 16% in perceived stress and 21% in insomnia severity.

Prioritizing access to care: The ability to see an affordable therapist is often a barrier to accessing mental health support. Despite our country’s advances in providing access to health care, there’s still a societal norm that high-quality care is primarily for full-time white-collar workers. But all workers need and deserve health care. In our experience, providing access to affordable, quality health care significantly shifts caregivers’ ability to proactively care for their well-being.

Meeting caregivers where they are: For caregivers without health coverage or with limited insurance, high costs and long wait times present obstacles. Even those with good insurance may struggle to find culturally or linguistically appropriate therapists or feel uncomfortable seeking traditional therapy.

With this in mind, we normalize emotional wellness in our communications and training and regularly connect caregivers with low-or-no-cost resources. This includes access to emotional health coaching through a third-party phone app. Of our users who screened positive for depression, 76% showed improved symptoms after six-weeks of use. Resources like these can be a game-changer for caregivers needing in-the-moment support or feeling stigma related to mental health.

Focusing on economic security: Financial security lays a foundation for mental health. Yet, caregivers often don’t get this peace of mind. As a result, policies that support fair wages for caregivers, including union representation, are a crucial part of wellness. To support financial stability, we’ve adopted a first-of-its-kind retirement plan for caregivers with direct payments from their employers. And we connect caregivers to resources, such as childcare, food or legal assistance. These are important steps to reduce economic strain that can lead to mental health challenges.

Ensuring this workforce is strong, healthy and able to support our communities’ growing needs requires building systems that prioritize the wellness of caregivers, including their mental health.


The Healing Power of Music

March 01,2023

Music can communicate; it can become in tune with our bodies and brains, not just our ears. The layers making up a song — the symphonic blend of lyrics, instruments, beats and rhythms — not only generate basic pleasure, but also help us to understand, express and release our more complex emotions and experiences.

Think of your favorite song for a moment. What is it about the song that makes you enjoy it so wholeheartedly? Maybe it’s the lyrics that resonate with you and your life experience in a way that makes you feel understood to your core. Perhaps the beat and flow of the song encourage and inspire you to take on a challenge or to embrace a new day. Whatever the reason may be, that particular song likely connects to you on such a personal level that it manages to elicit raw, unrestrained emotion from within.

In other words, the purpose of music goes far beyond its auditory appeal; it is a critical tool to understanding ourselves and improving our mental health.

What Research Has To Say

The subject of music’s therapeutic process has also captured the attention of researchers. Dr. Shahram Heshmat Ph.D., believes that listening to music gives voice to the emotions we feel unable to express ourselves. “Sad music enables the listener to disengage from the distressing situations and focus instead on the beauty of the music,” he wrote.

So, how is this important to you? The answer lies inside our brains.

Experts say that listening to music stimulates the nucleus accumbens part of the brain, in turn increasing dopamine levels in the body. Research suggests that listening to music is not only pleasing but is effective as a form of therapy and emotion regulation as well.

These benefits are critical for young adults struggling with mental illness, especially in cases where there is limited access to professional mental health care resources, which can be expensive and time consuming.

Music Is Critical To Young Adult Mental Health

Every day seems to bring another tragedy plastered across the news channels and mental illness and teen suicide are on the rise. The one thing that continues to not only survive, but thrive, is music — which is why it needs to be recognized and used as a form of therapy. Music continues to prevail as a way for young people to cope with their emotions when all else fails.

It’s time that our society harnesses the power of music and embraces it within the mental health community. The next time you listen to music, reflect upon how it is emotionally affecting your mind and body. Think to yourself — how does this make me feel?

And then listen again. And again. And again.