Addiction Counseling

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Addictions Counselors' Credibility: The Impact of Interactional Style, Recovery Status, and Nonverbal Behavior Paul J. Toriello Douglas C. Strohmer
The impact of addictions counselors' interactional style (confrontational vs. motivational), recovery status (recovering vs. nonrecovering), and nonverbal behavior (facilitative vs. neutral) on 116 clients' perceptions of addictions counselor credibility was examined in a fully crossed factorial design. Significant results were found, and implications are discussed.

Addictions counselors practicing in the 21st century face many challenges as they manage the care and quality of their services to clients. Some of the most serious of these challenges are presented by such factors as session and/or funding limits, mandatory "check-ins" with insurance companies, and requirements to measure intervention outcomes (Gabbard, 1997; Magura, Horgan, Mertens, & Shepard, 2002). These care and quality issues are accompanied by documentation requirements that account for a considerable portion of addictions counselors' time. The result is that addictions counselors have less time to spend with clients (Alexander & Lemak, 1997) and, thus, may perceive pressure to expedite the counseling process. As a result, their interactional style with clients may take on a rather direct, "get down to business" tone (Lemak, Alexander, & D'Aunno, 2001; Rohrer, Rohland, Westermann, Knott, & Zwick, 1999). One critical factor for addictions counselors working in such an environment is the ability to be effective when clients are resistant to or ambivalent about changing their substance-abusing behaviors. In these circumstances, clients may be asked to implement changes before they are ready or willing to make such changes. Thus, the extent to which clients perceive their addictions counselors as a valid source of counseling input (i.e., credible) would seem to be of even greater importance than normal, given that they have less time to spend with...
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