Substance Abuse Counselor Courses and Classes Overview
Many colleges offer substance abuse counselor courses as part of a certificate program which is designed for those who already hold a bachelor's or master's degree. Substance abuse counselor courses may be offered within the curriculum of undergraduate and graduate psychology and human services degree programs. Students train to help substance abusers recover from addiction in an individual or group counseling environment.
Understanding Addiction Course
This class serves as an introduction to the psychological, social and genetic factors which contribute to the development of addictions and dependency. It also explains how addiction and substance abuse affect an individual's behavior and his or her interaction with family and society. The legal, medical, political and moral perspectives on substance abuse are examined. Coursework in counseling theory is supplemented by case studies.
Individual Substance Abuse Counseling Course
Students learn to engage in one-on-one substance abuse counseling with individual clients. Work starts with an initial interview which includes a screening and assessment process. Students then discover means of establishing a relationship and building trust between the counselor and the client. The course covers a variety of treatment options for the individual counseling setting.
Group Substance Abuse Counseling Course
Group therapy is a key element to many substance abuse counseling plans. The group can consist of other substance abusers, such as in support groups, or an individual's family and friends, such as in an intervention. For group counseling to be successful, students must build leadership skills and develop an understanding of group dynamics. This course addresses group treatment options and the counselor's role as facilitator.
Counseling Ethics Course
This course examines the ethical issues presented in substance abuse counseling. Students learn the moral and legal obligations the counselor has to maintain confidentiality, objectivity and competence. Courses address circumstances that can affect these rules, such as maintaining confidentiality when counseling minors.
Dual Diagnosis Counseling Course
In some cases, a substance abuse client may also be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Dual diagnosis courses explain how mental illness can affect addictive behavior and how counselors can assess these cases. Students learn to work with psychiatrists or other counselors in developing treatment plans that address both issues. Individual and group counseling options are explored.
Pharmacology for Substance Abuse Counselors Course
The physical and mental effects of alcohol and drugs are explained in this class. Students learn about the development of tolerances and dependence as well as the impact of withdrawal on the body. Students also become familiar with medicines used to combat substance abuse, such as those that reduce cravings or suppress withdrawal symptoms.
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