Counselor and Client Characteristics in Mental Health versus Substance Abuse Treatment Settings Providing Services for Co-Occurring Disorders

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Abstract

The study compares counselor and client characteristics of state-funded co-occurring disorder (COPSD) programs in mental health (MH) versus substance abuse (SA) settings. SA counselors more often had graduate degrees and MH counselors rated their knowledge and skills lower on two of nine COPSD best practice principles. MH clients were more frequently diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, whereas SA clients displayed evidence of greater substance use severity and had higher rates of treatment completion and abstinence at discharge. Results reveal significant implications for workforce development and potential system changes to enhance COPSD services that are unique to each setting.

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