An estimated 21.7 million people need treatment for their substance use problem.
As barriers to treatment are removed with health care reform, this number will continue to grow. Simultaneous to this need for treatment, a workforce crisis is occurring in the addiction counseling field due to high turnover rates, an aging workforce, worker shortages, and lingering stigma about substance abuse. Given this climate, counselor education programs are challenged to develop programs that adequately train future counselors to address the unique needs of clients who are struggling with addiction and to better understand how students construct their knowledge regarding addictions and addiction counseling.The purpose of this study was to explore and qualitatively examine the development of counseling students’ thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about addiction and
treatment that may help educators understand how to better design addiction counseling curriculum to address attitude and self-awareness competencies. Themes identified in the study are explored as well as the implications for counselor educators.
Keywords: addiction counseling, counselor education, attitudes and beliefs