The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Rehabilitation Counseling: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Amy Hebert-Knopf

Second Advisor

Mary Tacker

Third Advisor

Trae Downing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Co-Occurring, Dual Diagnosis, Comorbidity, Employment, Rehabilitation Services, Competency


Copious studies have collected data on issues regarding employment among persons with a disability (consumers) and a co-occurring chemical dependency. However, more research needs to be conducted which focuses on the services provided to this specific population in regard to employment, specifically vocational rehabilitation counseling. This study examined whether master’s level rehabilitation counselors are being trained to effectively assist consumers with co-occurring substance use disorders. Study participants included master’s level rehabilitation counselors working for Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) who were credentialed as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRC), CRC and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADC), have no credentials or have obtained a master’s degree in a related field with no credentials. It was hypothesized vocational rehabilitation counselors will complete a greater number of successful case closures if they are both CRC and LADC. Results indicated no significant differences between counselor credentials and case closures. Data from this study revealed that approximately one in five, or 19.4%, of all consumers served among the analyzed caseloads, had either a SUD diagnosis or undiagnosed chemical dependency, indicating a need for competency in addictions. Ninety-five percent of counselors indicated that rehabilitation counselors should addiction trainings in their graduate programs. A visible trend was identified in the distribution of case closures and CRC credentials. The presence of a CRC credential, either current, lapsed or combined with another credential, increased the number of case closures counselors had obtained. This study was limited by sample size. Future research should measure a larger group of counselors in order to ensure a representative sample which includes LADC credentialed rehabilitation counselors.


First and foremost, I would like to thank my faculty advisor, Dr. Knopf, for her support and guidance through this long process. Thank you for recognizing the importance of this issue and for taking direct action to work towards improving rehabilitation counselor competency in addictions. It is one thing to research a topic that interests you and another to actually make changes. Thank you to my committee members, Dr. Tacker and Dr. Downing, for taking the time to help me make this project meaningful. I respect both of you personally and professionally and am grateful to have your perspectives, critiques and insight. Thank you to Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services for allowing me to conduct this research and recognizing the importance of this issue among consumers accessing services. Thank you to Brandon Johnson, Rachel Briant and Aaron Mertes for the direction you provided throughout this lengthy process. Last, a thank you to my parents for providing me with the encouragement to pursue my dreams and emotionally supporting me across this long journey of higher education.



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