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What was your biggest disappointment as an addiction counselor?
Advice
Give an example of time one of your patients did not overcome their circumstances. It could be that they had to go back to jail or maybe they committed suicide. It could also be the realization that some issues are beyond your ability to repair. Show that you can come to a place of acceptance about the situation. Explain why you were disappointed and how you handled it. Be sure to keep patient confidentiality top of mind when answering this question
Answer examples
"One of my patients was struggling with a drug addiction that caused him to take his own life. It was really difficult for me to hear the news because it felt like we were making such great progress. In the end I had to accept that I can only do my best. There are some problems that are deeper than you or I can understand."
Entry Level answer example
"My biggest career disappointment so far was not landing the practicum that I really had my heart set on. I truly felt like I had nailed the interview but unfortunately, it was not enough. Despite the disappointment, I was able to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. The practicum that I ultimately ended up in, then opened the door for me to land my first full time counseling position. In the end, I ended up where I needed to be."
Experienced answer example
"In my current role, we do a lot of fundraising in hopes that public funding will help us to keep some of our free support groups and programs open. This past year we did not meet our targets and it was really upsetting to see some of the programs close due to lack of funding. We have made a strong 5 year plan, in response to this disappointment. With this plan, I am confident that we will be able to reinstate these programs in the coming months."

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User-Submitted Answers

What was your biggest disappointment as an addiction counselor?
1.
I can not say that I have had a disappointing moment in this field, just situations to learn and grow from in the future.
2.
Having young clients who have died of overdose. Nothing has bothered me more than that as a worker. It has strengthened my conviction in harm reduction approaches and in the need for people to be well educated and informed about the substances they use and ways to mitigate risk.
3.
When I found myself telling a client what to do instead of letting them make their own decision.
4.
The revolving door that is addiciton.
5.
Working hard to help a patient change their behavior and watching them continually face barriers.
6.
I have no experience in this field.
7.
Problem would be to not be able to help a client.
8.
Helping others and not helping my youngest brother who was addicted.
9.
Watching someone go back into an addiction, after working so very hard.
10.
The way our legal system and society criminalize and stigmatize addiction. I hope one day a more compassionate approach will be used and it will be seen as a health issue to be addressed through treatment, like any other health condition.
11.
Not landing a job after receiving my degree.
12.
My biggest disappointment would have to be when I saw a client relapse. Part of me felt as though I could have done more to prevent this. However with this relapse, I practiced motivational interviewing and relapse prevention with my client.
13.
My biggest disappointment was when a client relapsed. A part of me felt as though I was not doing my job. I had to remember that it was the client who made the choice. I then practiced relapse prevention with the client and provided encouragement through motivational interviewing.
14.
Watching people not even try.
15.
Losing a client to the disease.
16.
My biggest disappointment was not going out of my comfort zone more during my practicum experience and talking with the narcissistic male high school students.
17.
Not really sure I have one yet.
18.
My biggest disappointment as an addiction counselor is when individuals relapse, but as a counselor I do not blame myself or shame myself I just find ways to try to figure out what happened or what part of an individuals treatment plan went wrong and where I can step in to help the individual along the way to get better again.
19.
I have not yet counseled anyone.
20.
When a person decides to give up.
21.
I can not say that I have had a disappointing moment in this field, just situations to learn and grow from in the future.
22.
Exceeding my expectation of others.
23.
Following up with clients who had relapsed after treatment.
24.
When my patient lest against clinical advise.
25.
Difficulty of watching those you helped relapse.
26.
My biggest disappointment was the first time I saw one of my clients relapse. Due to never experiencing this, I felt very disheartened for my client.
27.
I have had any disappointments as an addiction counselor because I have not yet held a position as an addiction counselor.
28.
It would be when one of student’s left group, because she had to attend a mental institution. I wished she was able to experience some of the group cohesion, and I was able to see her personal growth.
29.
Failure is challenging to watch. When you see a person with great tools to over come obstacles and watch them not use those tools, or not use them effectively, is difficult. When working with others, its important recognize that this will be frustrating, use "failures" as opportunities to learn, and not take them personally. We are only responsible for ourselves, and this is also true for our clients as well.
30.
Not being able to help everyone.
31.
Knowing the statistics for recovery was the most disappointing thing in my counseling career.
32.
I suppose the biggest disappointment was seeing an individual give up.
33.
Seeing the pain families have when their loved one had an unsuccessful attempt to getting sober.
34.
Not being able to do enough.
35.
Seeing a client leave before they were ready.
36.
Not being able to get through some clients who only spouse the AA model.
37.
My biggest disappointment was when a client of mine at my internship was performing well in outpatient treatment but his urine analysis came positive. I had to report this to my supervisor who in turn reported it to his lawyer and the judge. His future could have been more promising.
38.
Things that could be more therapeutic.
39.
The biggest disappointment as an counselor is not being to provide the correct treatment to clients due to management.
40.
Feeling as if I wasn't the right fit for the person I was counseling. Knowing that I did not do as well as I could have done.
41.
Watching persons get so in their recovery and slip back I to addiction.
42.
Working with a DUI client who refuse to comply with the judges order and was sent to jail. I could have pushed him harder.
43.
Seeing a client relapse and make unhealthy decisions upon discharge.
44.
When I have tried every intervention I can think appropriate with a person and they are just not ready for change.
45.
When a client died from an overdose after graduating drug court started asking if there was something else I could have done in group regarding education on relapse presentation but realized addiction is a disease that needs continous insight and desire to want to stay clean and sober.
46.
Seeing lack of knowledge and understanding in addiction issues.
47.
When there was lack of support from supervisor.
48.
I haven't held that position yet, but as support staff, it was hard to see clients give up on their treatment goals and leave.
49.
Having to allow another counsellor work with a client when I didn't want to.
50.
I could not help a client that kept on relapsing.
51.
My biggest disappointment as a counselor was assisting a client struggling with alcohol addiction constantly having to get hospitalized.
52.
Not being able to help every client that I come in contact with.
53.
I wouldnt say its a disappontment but maybe knowing that at the time I am unable to assit the clt due to clt being in a different place at time of recovery.