India: Practitioners trained on counseling skills for substance use disorders


New Delhi/March 06, 2018: More than a dozen practitioners received intensive training on counseling drug users in Punjab in a five-day workshop for master trainers held recently in Chandigarh. The workshop was made possible with the support of Max India Foundation and the Government of Punjab.

The refresher training aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of participants to improve the quality of services provided to people affected by substance use. 13 of the 16 counselors, who were already trained at Delhi in November last year as part of UNODC's Global Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care, attended the workshop.

Held in English and Punjabi, the technical sessions were interactive and informative in nature and enabled active participation of all practitioners through brainstorming discussions. The trainers cited relevant and relatable examples from case studies to help the participants understand the concepts. Assessments were also conducted before and after the sessions to ensure the effectiveness of the training.

A range of group activities were facilitated at the workshop to enable the participants to apply what they learnt so far. As part of these efforts, attendees were asked to fill in responses in specific formats of OARS (Open questions, affirmation, reflective listening, and summary reflections) and functional analysis by posing as clinicians and clients. Using role playing as a tool, another activity focused on "identifying triggers with partners" to make the participants pose as counselors and clients to understand external and internal triggers.

Participants were also made to practice a scenario to enhance their 'assertive skills' where clients did not know how to say "No" or were easily influenced. Energizer sessions were undertaken to keep the participants energetic and attentive.  

The UNODC Treatnet Training Package is a unique tool to enhance the level of knowledge and skills of professionals working in the field of substance use disorders. While Treatnet Volume A focuses on screening, brief intervention, assessment and treatment planning, Volume B deals with elements of psychosocial treatment.

The refresher training concluded with a Training satisfaction survey. The participants shared that the training has been good and it has improved their understanding on various assessment tools. They mentioned that they are more confident and it has enhanced their counseling skills. The training gave them the opportunity to share their field experiences and helped in building their capacities.