Counseling, therapy and life coaching
Wi Awaken
A non-profit charitable organization
700 North Pine Street
PO Box 189
Burlington, Wi. 53105-0755
Our counseling staff consists of master’s and doctorate level therapists
trained in areas including, but not limited to, depression, mood
disorders, personality disorders, adjustment disorders, trauma, anger
management, substance abuse, addictions, Collaborative Divorce, divorce/separation and
parenting support. 

Make an Appointment or ask a Question: [email protected]

Impaired Professionals

Professionals are individuals with advanced training often from professional schools, many are licensed to practice by a governing body or professional association and are subject to ethical codes and standards of practice around the services they deliver to clients and the public. Professionals are educated, intelligent, and work in demanding careers. These professions include but are not limited to lawyers, physicians, psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians,
registered nurses, commercial pilots, clergymen, senior business executives, professors, teachers, professional athletes, and law enforcement personnel.

Despite education levels, intelligence, and roles played in career and community, professionals are not immune to substance abuse and addiction. The reasons professionals drink and use drugs are the same as for others; to relieve stress, to feel euphoric and to make problems “go away”. While there are many similarities to others, professionals face challenges surrounding the decision to initiate treatment and are prone to increased rates of relapse. Fear of negative consequences related to licensing and certifications. Getting professionals into treatment can be difficult because the professional may see
themselves as successful and functioning adequately despite their chronic abuse of alcohol and drugs. The professional career is often the last casualty following interpersonal relationships including family and friends and financial obligations. Other characteristics that interfere with initiating treatment include the compartmentalization of feelings needed to maintain control and feel confident in the professional setting, high levels of responsibility, and high levels of denial.

Common characteristics that put professionals at risk for addiction and high risk for relapse:

  • Denial (professionals can be subtle and sophisticated in their denial)
  • Fail to recognize the problem
  • See themselves as different or superior to others
  • Families have greater levels of denial and enabling
  • Training and profession tend to reinforce the sense that they can control the problem or successfully treat the problem on their own
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Strong experience of shame
  • Higher level of intelligence can interfere with treatment because they feel intelligence alone will assist in recovery and often operate from the “head” verses “feelings”
  • Professionals often need to be in control and struggle with the concept of being powerless over their addiction
  • Professionals work in high stress positions but often lack skills in coping with stress and distress tolerance
  • Availability of drugs in environment

Impaired professionals may be subject to disciplinary actions by licensing or credentialing bodies. These disciplinary actions are put in place to protect clients and the public from potential harm at the hands of an impaired professional. There are treatment programs designed to keep the impaired professional active in their career while seeking treatment and recovery. These programs are demanding and can continue for a period of years. Treatment for the impaired professional should include individual counseling, group counseling, and peer-support groups. Individual counseling is important for discovering strengths and challenges to recovery. Underlying mental health and emotional issues can be identified and addressed in individual sessions. Group counseling allows the professional to be a member of a group which contains individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life. This process is humbling and normalizing. Professional group counseling allows professionals to discuss and develop skills needed to negotiate impaired professional programs and to discuss career concerns and stressors. Peer support is essential for all individuals in recovery and becomes part of the long term recovery plan.


Wi Awaken provides professional counseling in both group and individual sessions. We are offering a professional counseling group to meet the needs of impaired professionals including
those that are formally involved in an impaired professionals program and those addressing issues of abuse and addiction without imposed treatment.


How can we help you enhance professional development, increase job satisfaction, and achieve personal and professional wellbeing?
Contact Us