How To Become A Certified Recovery Coach
Anyone recovering from substance use disorder (drug addiction) needs a strong support system. While most people get support from family, friends, and behavioral health professionals, many also benefit from recovery coaches.
A certified recovery coach is someone who guides others through the addiction recovery process. Here’s how you can take on this life-saving role.
How To Become A Certified Recovery Coach
To become a certified recovery coach, you must meet certain requirements.
While these requirements may vary depending on the treatment center and state, the most common ones include:
- high school diploma or GED certificate
- valid driver’s license
- communication skills
- patience, compassion, and empathy
- the ability to pass a background check
Many treatment centers also prefer that you have personal experience recovering from addiction or working with people in recovery. These experiences can help you better understand your clients and their struggles.
In addition, some centers prefer that you have a post-secondary degree in social work, psychology, or a similar field.
You will also need to complete a recovery coach training course. There are many different training programs that offer recovery coach certification.
Popular options include:
- the National Association for Addiction Professionals, which offers the National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS) certification
- the Recovery Coach University, which offers the Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CARC) certification
- the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC-RC), which offers a Peer Recovery certification
While some states will recognize certifications received in a different state, others won’t. That’s why it’s important to identify your local certification board and learn the specific eligibility requirements in the area where you want to work.
What Does A Certified Recovery Coach Do?
As a certified recovery coach, you serve as a mentor for people recovering from addiction and co-occurring disorders (such as depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder). You offer encouragement, accountability, and advice as your clients progress through addiction treatment.
Help Create A Recovery Plan
You also help each client create a recovery plan so they can maintain a healthy, sober life after leaving the treatment center.
The recovery plan will include personalized coping strategies meant to reduce the person’s risk of relapse, such as therapy, exercise, and meditation. These strategies greatly boost the person’s chance of long-term recovery.
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Other responsibilities of a certified recovery coach may include:
- performing client intake interviews
- documenting client progress
- conducting regular safety checks to make sure clients feel mentally and physically healthy throughout
- the recovery process
- helping clients with everyday activities, such as cooking and cleaning
- teaching clients about life management skills, such as time management and budgeting
- teaching each client’s family how to best support their recovery
- accompanying clients when they attend medical appointments
- connecting clients with community-based recovery support services
Tools & Topics For Recovery Coaching
No matter where you receive training, you will learn about a variety of topics, including:
Recovery coaches must advocate for their clients throughout the ups and downs of recovery.
To become an effective advocate, you must learn:
- how the recovery process works
- how to help clients manage difficult emotions
- how to help clients set and achieve goals
With this knowledge, you can empower your clients to change unhealthy behaviors and build fulfilling, sober futures.
A successful recovery coach has a thorough understanding of ethics, boundaries, and cultural competence (the ability to provide quality care to clients with diverse beliefs, values, and experiences). This understanding ensures that all clients feel safe and supported throughout the recovery process.
During ethics training, you will learn how to uphold client confidentiality, maintain respectful relationships, and assist clients from various backgrounds.
To support a client’s overall wellness, you must understand the basic principles of addiction treatment as well as dual diagnosis treatment (treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders).
For instance, you must realize that not all clients will benefit from the same treatments, that relapse is a common part of recovery for many people, and that a client’s needs may change over time.
You also need to learn about crisis intervention services, treatment referrals, and aftercare planning. In addition, you must know how to identify a client’s unique needs so you can recommend the most effective services.
All recovery coaches need certain skills that allow them to help others more effectively. For example, they must understand how to identify and work with different learning styles. In addition, they need strong relationship skills so they can create a safe, trusting environment for their clients.
They must also learn about motivational interviewing. This evidence-based counseling method helps people become more motivated to recover from addiction. Recovery coaches can use it to boost their clients’ engagement in the treatment process.
Other important coaching skills include:
- active listening
- collaborative skills
To learn more about becoming a professional recovery coach, please reach out to Bedrock Recovery Center. Our substance abuse and addiction treatment programs offer mental health counseling, support groups, and other evidence-based services.
- Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33509420/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/brss-tacs/recovery-support-tools/peers
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/brss_tacs/peers-supporting-recovery-substance-use-disorders-2017.pdf