The Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 edition stated that ‘persons interested in counseling should have a strong desire to help others and should be able to inspire respect, trust and confidence.’ This description would eliminate persons who are not people oriented or those who tend to be intrinsic or selfish in their desires. Apart from the requirements stated in the handbook it takes someone who possesses a strong character, a strong will and one who is able to separate himself from the problems of his client yet is caring enough to use all the facilities at his disposal in the search for a solution. The counselor should someone with a genuine interest in persons having this type of mental order. A person without this strong conviction will easily become frustrated in the face of challenges and problems associated with substance abuse counseling.
The situations are often challenging so a counselor should be someone with great courage, having excellent interpersonal skills. One of the qualifications as outlined in the handbook is that a counselor must possess high physical and emotional energy. This is needed to deal effectively with the stressful cases and situations that are present on a regular basis. In some instances the counselor may work with groups or families but for the most part the job involves situations where they have to perform their tasks on an individual basis. The counselor has to be someone who has the ability to work independently or also work as a team. He should be a good listener and someone that has good rapport. He or she also has to be patient and develop measures of avoiding confrontation that can disrupt the counseling process.
The counselor also has to adhere to the code of ethics. The American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice provide guidelines for counselors enabling them to make decisions that will uphold a high level of professionalism and ethical