Primary Counselor – Akeela House Residential Program – Anchorage, AK – Full-Time, Non-Exempt

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Position Summary:

Provide therapeutic services to Primary Care clients. This includes assessment of clients to establish level of services needed, the provision of clinical skill-based and process groups, as well as individual counseling. Provide crisis management services as needed.

Principle Duties And Responsibilities Include But Are Not Limited To:


  • Establish a helping relationship with the client characterized by warmth, respect, genuineness, concreteness and empathy through a continuing assessment process.
  • Facilitate the client’s engagement in the treatment/recovery process.
  • Work with the client to establish realistic, achievable treatment goals consistent with achieving and maintaining recovery.
  • Encourage and reinforce all client actions that are determined to be beneficial in progressing toward treatment goals.
  • Recognize how, when, and why to use the client’s family members or significant others (as appropriate) to enhance or support the treatment plan.
  • Promote client knowledge, skills, and attitudes that contribute to a positive change in substance abuse behaviors.
  • Promote client knowledge, skills, and attitudes consistent with the maintenance of good health (as defined by both the client culture and the treatment culture) and the prevention of HIV/AIDS, TB, STD’s, and other communicable diseases.
  • Facilitate the development of basic and life skills associated with recovery and the understanding of their existing mental illness.
  • Adapt counseling strategies to the individual characteristics of the client, including (but not limited to): disability, gender, sexual orientation, developmental level, acculturation, ethnicity, age, and health status.
  • Make constructive therapeutic responses when the client behavior is inconsistent with stated recovery goals.
  • Apply crisis management skills.
  • Mentor the client’s identification, selection, and practice of strategies that help sustain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for maintaining treatment progress, relapse prevention, maintenance of their mental illness and continuing care.

Group Counseling:

  • Describe, select, and appropriately use strategies from accepted and evidence-based, culturally appropriate models for group counseling with addicted or substance abusing client.
  • Perform the actions necessary to start a group, including: determining group type, purpose, size, and leadership; recruiting and selecting members; establishing group goals and clarifying behavioral ground rules for participating; identifying outcomes; and determining criteria and methods for termination or graduation from the group.
  • Facilitate the entry of new members and the transition of existing members.
  • Facilitate group growth within the established ground rules, and precipitate movement toward group and individual goals by using methods consistent with group type.
  • Understand the concepts of “process” and “content”, and shift the focus of the group when such an intervention will help the group move toward its goals.
  • Describe and summarize client behavior within the group for the purpose of documenting the client’s progress and identifying needs/issues that may require modification of the treatment plan.

Continuing Assessment And Treatment Planning:

  • Maintain ongoing contact with the client, and involved significant others, to ensure adherence to the treatment plan.
  • Understand and recognize culturally appropriate stages of change and other signs of treatment progress.
  • Assess treatment/recovery progress and, in consultation with the client, client’s family and significant others, (as appropriate) make appropriated changes to the treatment plan to ensure progress toward treatment objectives.
  • Describe and document treatment process, progress, and outcome.
  • Utilize referral skills.
  • Conduct continuing care, relapse prevention and discharge planning with the client and involve family members and significant others as appropriate.
  • Assure the accurate documentation of clinical activities throughout the course of treatment.
  • Apply placement, continued stay, and discharge criteria for each modality on continuum of care.

Essential Skills-Any Equivalent Combination Of Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education & Experience:

  • Meets at least one of the following requirements for degree/certification:
    • Advanced degree (masters-level or doctoral-level) in psychology, social work, counseling, child guidance, nursing or similar field; or
    • BA/BS in psychology, social work, counseling, child guidance, nursing or similar field and substance abuse treatment training and/or experience; or
    • Certification as a Chemical Dependency Counselor (CDC) I or Behavioral Health Counselor I (BHC) or higher by Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification (ACBHC), or  certification by another certifying body, such as a state certifying affiliate of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) or other similar recognized organization;  experience judged as meeting certification requirements may be accepted provided the applicant be certified within six months of hire.
  • Prefer three (3) years of experience in addictions, social services, mental health or related field.
  • Ability to function under stress.
  • Ability to identify and assess the degree of chemical dependency clients’ present.
  • Ability to handle the position without continual supervision.
  • Ability to function and communicate effectively in an interdisciplinary team approach to chemical dependency.
  • Ability to deal with hostile or distraught clients of all age levels and with their family members.
  • Ability to read, write and speak English.