Community / Faith-based Provider

Activities, Skills and Knowledge

Community- and Faith-based providers focus services in some way, either by geographic location, by demographic, or by faith. There are multiple pathways to recovery; spirituality and/or community can be an important part of some people's recovery. Community- and Faith-based providers can provide a full array of clinical and other recovery services.

Any clinical services provided in community- or faith-based settings must be appropriately licensed.

Some faith-based programs are open to all faiths and spiritual beliefs, some are from the perspective of a specific denomination. Individual faith leaders often have special training in addiction.

Community Providers need to:

  • Know the neighborhoods and populations they serve well
  • Have a thorough understanding of addiction

Faith-based providers need to:

  • Know the various denominations and community they are serving
  • Have a thorough understanding of addiction

Community and faith-based providers might offer a range of services which can include, among others:

  • Outpatient counseling
  • Recovery services
  • Homes for 12-step programs
  • Detoxification services
  • Pastoral Counseling (currently a reimbursed service through MA-ATR, Massachusetts Access to Recovery)

Special Opportunity for Hampden and Suffolk County Providers:
In 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) received a $13 million, four year grant from SAMHSA to operate Access to Recovery - ATR (currently operating in 30 states).

Massachusetts ATR (MA-ATR) is for individuals in Hampden and Suffolk Counties involved with the criminal justice system who are affected by substance abuse, and expands access to treatment and recovery services using a system of electronic vouchers, consumer choice, and a broad network of community- and faith-based providers.

Clients choose the services and providers (from those registered with the program) that they want, based on their own personal needs. Chosen providers are compensated via an electronic voucher. The rate of compensation is based on similar programs and similar services.

Educational Requirements

Depend on the level of service provided – see the MDPH regulations.

In addition, Pastoral Counseling requires specific education, although some certifications do not require a degree (see below).

Licensure/Certification Requirements

Appropriate to the level of service provided. See the License/Certification page. Although some states license Pastoral Counselors, Massachusetts does not, so you should seek a license in a discipline such as social work, psychology or marriage and family therapy, and seek the Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor license offered by Massachusetts.

  • Programs offering Certification as a Pastoral Counseling Specialist are available in other states.
  • NAADAC offers a Certificate in Spiritual Care-giving which does not require a degree.

Opportunities for Advancement

Faith-based providers can be or become Pastoral Counselors. Pastoral Counseling is a form of psychotherapy which uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. Pastoral Counselors are certified mental health professionals who have had in-depth religious and/or theological training. See the American Association of Pastoral Counseling for more information.