Shadowing a Substance Abuse Counselor

Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats


The first strength of Healthways Services is that the organization is a highly reputable company that provides quality services. Its reputation in terms of providing superior substance abuse counseling services elevates its credibility. The organization also has qualified staff members who act as its source of strength in the provision of services. Secondly, the organization upholds integrity at all levels of its operations. Besides, there are adequate resources that aid in the company’s service delivery including training kits, office space, finance, and working incentives among others. The company’s strengths provided the intern with valuable insight into the operational pillars of a successful company. For instance, the company’s ability to have resources at all times made its operations quite easy. It was also clear that the organization’s good reputation came from successful management practices.


The organization has limited sources of funding and this puts a strain on its operations. Consequently, the organization operates whilst balancing the needs of the few financiers it has. This weakness jeopardizes the operations and the survival of the company because losing one of its few financiers could have a big impact on the organization. Furthermore, the lack of expandable funding makes it hard for the company to acquire more staff members to deal with the increasing cases of substance abuse in the community.


One opportunity for the company is its ability to expand its customer base, counseling services, and revenue base. The organization’s current size and prospects make it possible for it to achieve growth and harness its sources of revenue. Therefore, the company stands to gain more relevance in the community that it serves. The company has the opportunity to revive its operations and make them up to date by embracing modern technology. Therefore, the advancement of counseling services involves a wider knowledge of counseling matters that are noble for the clients.


The organization faces stiff competition from other rival organizations that focus on the provision of counseling services. Most of these competitors are non-profit organizations that have better sources of funding than Healthways. Also, counseling services have since been entrenched into all other aspects of life including education, religion, and workplace welfare. Consequently, there is a threat of diminished relevance for counseling organizations such as Healthways. The company needs to entrench the social aspect of counseling into its operations by instituting outreach programs to target churches, schools, and workplaces. The availability of this threat enabled the intern to learn about the value of versatility in an organization.

Discussion, Conclusion, Implications, and Recommendations


During the internship, the intern was able to observe the way substance abuse counselors work and how participants respond to treatment. The internship can be seen as a great experience because the intern was fully integrated into the organization’s process. The intern participated in numerous sessions where he noted peculiarities in the behaviors of the mentor, participants, and strategies that are employed during the sessions. The intern learned about the possible behavioral traits of participants and their potential to relapse.

The intern took part in seminars and meetings with multi-disciplinary staff, which was a very important experience. The intern learned that cooperation with different professionals enabled the mentor to provide high-quality services to participants by making sure their needs were being met. More importantly, the intern had an opportunity to collaborate with his mentor and develop some treatment strategies, which was a remarkable experience as he obtained several insights during the development of these strategies.

The intern had an opportunity to observe quite conventional and extraordinary cases and realized that everyone was dealing with a certain challenge in his/her life. The intern learned specific emotional awareness, which was observed during sessions. These observations enabled the intern to get certain confidence, which will be crucial for his future career endeavors.


After analyzing the data, it is possible to make certain conclusions. The issue of substance abuse counseling is very important nowadays within the framework of the increased level of addiction among individuals. There is a need for professionals who can provide qualified advice to individuals who suffer from substance abuse. Some patterns for the preparation of qualified interns should be suggested. These patterns should take into account the complexity of substance abuse issues, the analysis of the treatment methodologies, and the main objectives of counseling-related internships. Moreover, the importance of practice for interns should also be mentioned as it allows an intern to obtain knowledge, which is not available in books or some other sources.


The issue of substance abuse and its impact on society is pertinent to the current generation. The internship experience enabled the intern to witness the issues of substance abuse firsthand. There is a need to revise the current substance-abuse tackling strategies. Future substance abuse programs should focus on the need to impact useful knowledge to the interns and other young minds. The issue of substance abuse is also important to mentors who are supposed to train future counselors. The data that is collected in this study is purposefully aimed at increasing our understanding of substance abuse issues and subsequent counseling.


After analyzing the issue of substance abuse through an internship, it is possible to make several recommendations. It is necessary to say that a change in the existing system of how interns learn about substance abuse issues is required. Emphasis should be put on practice as it can allow better substance abuse knowledge and practical skills among interns. Moreover, some new methods should be applied to the existing counseling systems for them to be more modern. Within the framework of the big of several people who suffer from substance abuse, it is very important to investigate the different methods that can prevent it. Therefore, it is possible to say that internships that allow students to obtain practical knowledge and can serve as the first stage to improve the understanding of the problem within substance abuse treatment.