There are several different vocations in the addiction recovery field. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you might be wondering who you should seek for help. It can get pretty confusing if you’re not sure how these different addiction workers differ.

A counselor and a therapist are different, but what exactly makes them different? How different are the methods of a holistic therapist? What makes an addiction coach so much different than a life coach?

This article will explain the differences between all of the most common vocations in the addiction recovery field. Afterwards, you should be able to make a good decision about how best to progress towards your recovery.


Therapists are usually involved in more serious drug addictions. They are usually employed by rehabilitation facilities, and in this instance, usually use cognitive behavioral therapy to help an addict identify the causes of their addiction and eliminate it.

Many therapists work on their own, however, and may explore different avenues to help you recover from your addiction. There are several different types of therapists that may help you, but the majority of recovering addicts simply see an addiction therapist.

LCSW (Licensed clinical social workers) are a type of therapist that work under the local or federal social services and are certified to give clinical advice and make recommendations.

MFW (Marriage and family therapists) may help a family come to terms with the addiction of a family member, but will typically refer the addict to a different, more specialized therapist for his or her treatment.


Drug counselors are also often employed by rehab facilities as well as having their own offices, but their function differs from therapists. They may recommend therapy, but they aren’t often legally qualified to offer the therapy themselves.

Instead, a drug counselor will offer advice and information about your addiction. Speaking with a counselor may feel more comfortable for you because the session won’t be as clinical as speaking with a therapist will. Many drug counselors have past experience with drug use, and they usually believe that communicating honestly and comfortably with you is among their primary priorities.


Life coach

Life coaches are like counselors that give you advice and direction on how to live your life to the fullest. A good life coach will work with you to identify solutions that best suit you; a poor life coach will try to force solutions on you that worked for them.

A life coach specializing in addiction or a recovery coach, will, likewise, help you identify how you could improve certain areas of your life that might make you less likely to develop or pursue a drug addiction.

They will help you redirect your focus onto more important areas like family, friends, your hobbies and passions, educational pursuits, or whatever you’re interested in enough to take focus away from your addiction.

Life coaches, particularly holistic life coaches, that specialize in addiction are great because they can identify and help you work through all areas of your life that can influence or impact an addiction.



Addictionologists aren’t as easy to get to speak with as the other vocations. This is because addictionologists are fairly prestigious; they are specialists that deal with both chemical and behavioral addictions.

If you get a chance to speak with an addictionologist, the conversation could be very enlightening. They may learn from you as much as you learn from them, and they may be able to provide you with some clinical or medical information that can help you fight your addiction.

Addictionologists are usually qualified to give psychological analysis to the addict, and can provide you with a lot of the information and assistance that all of these other addiction workers can provide.


Holistic Specialty

Any one of the above vocations could also be a holistic vocation (i.e. holistic therapist, holistic life coach). A holistic recovery specialist uses methods that deviate from the clinical ‘norm’ and are often responsible for many of the developments in the medical field because they are willing to work with practices supported by anecdotal evidence before the clinical, research-based evidence emerges.

Holistic recovery workers aim to heal the body, mind, and spirit of someone struggling through addiction. To do this, they must address more than simply the root cause of addiction. They look at the individual as a whole and observe relationships between their psyche, their mind and their body and attempt to identify and perform a solution that addresses every, or as many, aspects of the individual’s health as possible.


In conclusion

There are many different addiction workers that can help you with your problem. It’s good that you understand the different services provided by each before you make a solid decision.

If you’re interested in exploring new, holistic methods of treatment, then you should seek a holistic addiction worker. Every basic vocation for addiction treatment can be done in a holistic manner, but you might have to look a bit further to find someone dedicated to holism. The search will almost undoubtedly be worthwhile, though!

Different Types of Addiction Workers
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