Certificate in Addiction Counseling

The Certificate in Addiction Counseling at American International College is designed for individuals interested in a career in the treatment of addiction and substance use, and is approved by the MBSACC* for those seeking to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC).

Upon completion of the 9-course program, students will leave AIC with the 300 hours of education required by MBSACC and a demonstrated understanding of addiction behavior and counseling, with a focus on:

  • Theories of human behavior relative to addiction and substance use disorders.
  • Historical, sociological, and ethical issues related to professional addiction counseling.
  • The physiological aspects of psychopharmacology for counselors of those suffering from addiction and substance use disorders.
  • The use of screening, assessment, engagement in case management, treatment planning, and counseling.

*Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselor Certification (www.mbsacc.com/cadc)
Financial Aid is currently not available for the Certificate in Addiction Counseling program.

  • SWK2000 Intro to the Behavioral Sciences for Human Services
  • SWK2010 Addiction & Substance Use Disorders
  • SWK2020 Psychopharmacology for Counselors
  • SWK2030 Drugs & Society
  • SWK3300 Principles of Case Management
  • SWK3010 Individual Addiction Counseling
  • SWK3020 Group Addiction Counseling
  • SWK4000 Practicum I
  • SWK4010 Practicum II

The purpose of this course is to introduce student’s to knowledge of human development and behavior as a base for addiction counseling practice. The course will cover a current and comprehensive examination of human behavior using a multidimensional framework. Students will explore the biological dimension and the social factors that affect human development and behavior, encouraging them to connect their own personal experiences with social trends in order to recognize the unity of person and environment. Life span development from conception to very old age is examined. The course focuses on theories and knowledge related to biological, sociological, psychological, spiritual and cultural processes and development across the life span. It addresses the environmental conditions that support or inhibit individual and family growth; and variations arising from ethnicity, class, cohort, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and other differences. Particular attention is given to factors that contribute to persons being at risk and the issues and concerns of multi-cultural, urban populations. Twelve case studies are used to illustrate a balanced breadth and depth of coverage to help students apply theory and knowledge to addiction counseling practice.

This course includes an introduction to the history of addiction treatment and recovery in the United States from the nineteenth century through to the present day. Topics include: recovery movements, the birth of addiction treatment, psychological approaches, the 12-step model, and modern addiction treatment, with an emphasis on understanding a variety of models and theories of addiction along with an attitudinal appreciation of the complexity inherent in understanding addiction. The social, political, economic and cultural contexts are also discussed, with an emphasis on the risk and resiliency factors for individuals and groups. The course will also examine co-occurring psychiatric disorders as the norm with substance use disorders and addictions. a holistic approach to working with individuals, using a single case example throughout the text to encourage the sequential application of concepts to co-occurring disorders. Students will be exposed to DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, the 2014 ACA code of ethics, and 2016 CACREP standards integrated throughout the mandatory readings.

This course presents an introduction to the rapidly advancing field of psychopharmacology by examining how drug actions in the brain affect psychological processes. Students will learn a historical background to gain an appreciation for the development of drug treatments and neuroscience over time. Coursework covers major topics in psychopharmacology, including new drugs and recent trends in drug use. Pedagogical features informed by the latest scholarship in teaching and learning are integrated throughout the course text to ensure that students are able to process and understand the material with ease. The course introduces students to current advances in addiction treatment by examining treatment outcome research, evidence-based approaches, and pharmacological advances in the field. Topics include: the neurobiology of addiction, substances of abuse, familial patterns of genetic transmission and epigenetics, cultural competence, and trauma-informed care. The course highlights the needs of special populations.

This course exposes students to biopsychosocial models used to explain substance use, abuse, dependency, and addiction. Students gain an understanding of social, genetic, physiological, and neurobiological factors contributing to alcohol use and abuse, as well as familiarity with the impact of these behaviors on the individual, the family, and the community. Specific attention is given to the roles of gender, age, culture and religious training as they relate to pattern of use. Course readings use sociological and other perspectives to examine drug and alcohol use in U.S. society. Topics are arranged topically rather than by drug categories and explores diverse aspects of drug use, including popular culture, sexuality, legal and criminal justice systems, other social institutions, and mental and physical health. Coursework will include case studies from field research that give students empathetic insights into the situations of those suffering from substance and alcohol abuse.

This course includes an in-depth analysis of the case management process from a generalist prospective for those seeking to work with individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Coursework focuses on evidence-based practices in contemporary case management, clarification of practitioner attitudes, effective communication skills, client assessment, service plan development, case documentation, the monitoring of services and treatment, and case termination. Other topics include: crisis intervention, group work, substance use disorders, legal interventions, advocacy and cultural competence. Text readings equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective case management practitioners in a variety of health and human service organizations. Coursework also introduces students to a unique Task-Centered Case Management Model built around the unifying principles of the profession—person-in-environment, strengths-based work, and ecological perspective. Students will work with over twenty case studies described by case managers and professionals which offer innovative practice insights, illustrating the practice roles and responsibilities of today’s case managers and the realities of conducting case management in today’s growing, exciting, and challenging field.

This course is designed to provide students with a specific skill base for assessment and counseling of persons struggling with addictions. Students will also be introduced to the theory and empirically validated treatment approaches specifically developed for adults, adolescents or families and the special populations of those who are dually diagnosed and those who are in chronic pain. Emphasis will be placed on developing competency in intake and assessment interviewing, behavioral treatment planning, and development of basic understanding of psychopharmacology as it applies to addiction counseling. Students will practice interviewing and counseling and learn referral processes. The coursework introduces specialized counseling skills such as crisis prevention and intervention and addiction counseling. The course invites students into the heart of addictive thinking, offering first-person accounts of what it is like to experience different addictions. Theories covered include motivational interviewing, moral theory, developmental theory, cognitive behavioral theories, attachment theory, and sociological theory.  Approaches to relapse prevention are also covered in this course. Focusing on the new DSM-V classifications for addiction with an emphasis on CACREP and treatment, the course text is an essential reference for both students and practitioners wanting to gain a deeper understanding of those with addiction.

This course will cover  numerous skills, techniques, insights, and case illustrations demonstrating how to tap into the heart of group therapy: the interpersonal processes for group members struggling with addiction. The course will cover group processes from beginning to end, including setting up a group, running the first session, facilitating the opening and closing of each session, working with tension and conflict, and using advanced skills and intervention techniques to facilitate member change. Students will expand on group leadership skills to include methods of running mandate groups, semi-structured groups, basic level unstructured groups, and advanced level here-and-now focused groups, as well as using psychodrama techniques to heal unresolved grief and loss in relation to addiction and recovery. Students will learn to write group curriculum and support peer run groups with individuals with lived experience.

The first of two practicum experiences in the Addiction Studies Certificate program. Students will participate in a 150-hour practicum experience in a community agency that provides services and support to individuals struggling with addiction. The course provides the opportunity to enhance/augment knowledge and skills related to working with clients with addiction, emphasizing confidentiality, professionalism, ethical principles and conduct.  Students will practice their acquired skills through supervised individual and/or group focused involvement utilizing core functions of an alcohol and drug counselor with an emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of a helping relationship and the interpersonal skills needed to be an effective helper. This includes development of self-awareness, the professional helper role, ethical considerations, and cultural competence in the helping profession. Students will also participate in a seminar experience for additional personal/professional support, supervision, feedback and exploration of field-related experiences. Text readings cover the helping process, self-awareness, and ethics in helping and focuses on specific helping skills such as listening and hearing, empathy, reflecting, paraphrasing, questioning, clarifying, exploring, and offering feedback, encouragement, and psycho-education as well as helping individuals in crisis and helping in groups. Note: Placement in an agency site for is not guaranteed and depends upon agreement among the site, the faculty, and the student. Special Requirement: This course must be completed with a C or better to count towards the Addiction Studies Certificate. Students assume travel costs to agency site.

The second of two practicum experiences in the Addiction Studies Certificate program. Students will participate in a 150-hour practicum experience in a community agency that provides services and support to individuals with substance use disorders. Students apply the cumulative knowledge and skills acquired in the foundational courses. The course will continue to provide the opportunity to enhance/augment knowledge and skills related to working with clients with a substance use disorder with an emphasis on confidentiality, professionalism, ethical principles and conduct.  Students will continue to practice their acquired skills through supervised individual and/or group focused involvement utilizing core functions of an alcohol and drug counselor with an emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of a helping relationship and the interpersonal skills needed to be an effective helper. Students will continue to enhance their development of self-awareness, the professional helper role, ethical considerations, and cultural competence in the helping profession. Students will continue to participate in a seminar experience for additional personal/professional support, supervision, feedback and exploration of field-related experiences. Text readings will further elaborate on the helping process, self-awareness, and ethics in helping and focuses on specific helping skills such as listening and hearing, empathy, reflecting, paraphrasing, questioning, clarifying, exploring, and offering feedback, encouragement, and psycho-education as well as helping individuals in crisis and helping in groups.

Note: Placement in an agency site for is not guaranteed and depends upon agreement among the site, the faculty, and the student. Special Requirement: This course must be completed with a C or better to count towards the Addiction Studies Certificate. Students assume travel costs to agency site.

 

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