For addiction counselors who might find themselves flummoxed by Facebook, or who haven’t touched Twitter, a new venture in social networking is seeking to establish a platform for a variety of field-specific activities that have everyday relevance.
Organized by a pair of addiction professionals in California, the Addiction Professionals Network (http://addictionprofessionals.ning.com) is seeking to establish a forum for meaningful professional connection among clinicians who often lack clear opportunities to communicate. “In this field we’re spread everywhere,” says Rick Reyes, the site’s administrator and an interventionist. “We need to network for the betterment of the field and the patient.”
Reyes and Pete Nielsen, a family recovery specialist who is a board member for the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC), have started from the notion of posting diverse content on the site, including educational articles from professionals, videos, and resources for client referrals. The site might include advertising spaces at a later date, Reyes says, though he does not consider that a primary goal.
Circumstances in the field are likely to dictate the content decisions made for the site, believes Reyes, who also does work for a methadone treatment program in Arizona. “Job-related issues are huge right now,” he says. “We’re getting at least five or six e-mails a week from people who have lost their jobs.”
Organizers want the site to be dedicated to professionals interested in meaningful dialogue and information exchange, so they are requiring anyone interested in becoming a member to register and verify their current work in the addiction field. Once they are part of the network, professionals have the opportunity to join a number of subspecialty groups on the site, representing areas such as intervention, faith-based counseling and anger management.
Membership stands at around 200 so far, but Reyes sees this venture as having much greater potential. “We see this as a network of thousands of people,” he says.