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Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2013) Competencies for substance abuse treatment clinical supervisors. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Technical assistance publication (TAP) series 21-A. HHS publication no. (SMA) 12-4243..

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The TAP 21 counselor competencies describe what fully proficient counselors can do in clinical practice. Those competencies may be introduced in pre-employment education and training settings, but they are often developed more fully on the job. It is typically the clinical supervisor’s responsibility to mentor counselor development and facilitate the building of new knowledge and skills, not only during counselors’ early years but throughout their careers. To that end, clinical supervisors in agencies specializing in the treatment of substance use disorders are expected to be knowledgeable and proficient in the addiction counseling competencies.

Clinical supervision itself is much discussed in the professional literature of several disciplines, including social work, psychology, and both mental health and substance use disorder counseling. Theories, process dynamics, and tools abound, but the functional responsibilities and essential skills of the substance use disorder treatment supervisor had not been synthesized into one document that could serve as a standard for the field. To remedy that situation, CSAT convened the Clinical Supervision Competencies Task Force (the Task Force) in fall 2005. The Task Force, composed of experts in substance abuse treatment and clinical supervision from across the country, was charged with developing this document, TAP 21-A, Competencies for Substance Abuse Treatment Clinical Supervisors. TAP 21-A is designed to accompany TAP 21, taking monitoring, assessment, and improvement of addiction counseling competencies to the next level.

Clinical Supervision Competencies Task Force
Section I Introduction
A Changing Profession
A Competency-Based Framework for Clinical Supervision
What This Document Is Not
Using This Document
Directions for Future Research

Section II: Implementation Guidelines
Why Have Implementation Guidelines
What Needs To Be Implemented?

Section III: Foundation Areas
FA1: Theories, Roles, and Modalities of Clinical Supervision
FA2: Leadership
FA3: Supervisory Alliance
FA4: Critical Thinking
FA5: Organizational Management and Administration

Section IV: Performance Domains
PD1: Counselor Development
PD2: Professional and Ethical Standards
PD3: Program Development and Quality Assurance
PD4: Performance Evaluation .
PD5: Administration

Section V: Integrated Bibliography .
Section VI: Appendices
Appendix A: Clinical Supervision Certification—National Resources
Appendix B: Professional Codes of Ethics Specific to Clinical Supervision
Appendix C: Suggested Reading and Other Resources
Appendix D: Field Reviewers

[See link below for TAP 21 Addiction counseling competencies.]

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Education and training, Psychosocial treatment method
January 2013
Identification #
Technical assistance publication (TAP) series 21-A. HHS publication no. (SMA) 12-4243.
70 p.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Corporate Creators
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
Place of Publication
Rockville, MD
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
Related (external) link

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