Graduate Degree Programs

Addiction Counseling Course Descriptions

PY583 Drugs and Behavior I: Basic Science (3.0 credits)
This course addresses the nature of psychoactive drugs and their modes of action on the functioning of the human brain. Anatomy and localization of function in the brain will be reviewed. Major topics will include neurochemistry (e.g., neurotransmitters and receptor mechanisms), psychopharmacology (e.g., pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics), the therapeutic uses of psychotropic medications, and basic psychological processes involved in drug self-administration or abuse (e.g., opponent process theory, reinforcement, and classical conditioning).

PY584 Ethical & Professional Issues in Addiction Counseling (1.5 credits)
This course concerns ethical, legal, and administrative issues that confront substance abuse counselors. The use of values to inform ethical decision-making in ambiguous situations will be practiced. General principles (e.g., beneficence, professionalism in relationships, confidentiality and its limits, and recognition of the boundaries of one’s expertise) as well as specific regulatory guidelines (e.g., rules governing credentials, reimbursement, appropriate documentation, and liability) will be discussed. Case material will be used extensively to promote reflection and discussion.

PY585 Drugs and Behavior II: Applications (3.0 credits)
This course concerns the roles played by psychoactive drugs in human lives, both individually and in society. Topics include the epidemiology of substance use and misuse, diagnostic criteria for substance-related disorders, signs and symptoms of intoxication and withdrawal for different classes of drug, interactions of substance use with other disorders (medical or psychiatric), and the effects of substance use on the adaptive functioning and well-being of users, family members, and the wider community. Substances covered include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opiates, stimulants, sedatives, cannabinoids, hallucinogens, inhalants, and less common varieties.

PY586 Culture, Gender, & Special Populations in Addictions (1.5 credits)
This course concerns the many ways in which the background or identity of a client affects behavior, thinking, and emotion relative to substance use and its disorders. Cultural and religious norms and attitudes toward alcohol and other drugs, gender differences, sexual orientation issues, the presence of co-occurring disorders (e.g., MICA), and medical problems (e.g., HIV) will be considered. In addition to their impact on substance use, attention will be paid to the ways in which these factors may affect the process of counseling and the relationship between counselor and client.

PY587 Addiction Counseling I: Core Concepts and Competencies (3.0 credits)
This course begins the process of combining general counseling competence with specific knowledge and expertise in the domain of substance abuse. Different models of substance abuse or addiction as well as associated treatment approaches will be studied, compared, and evaluated. These will include broadly medical, psychological, and quasi-spiritual modalities. Counseling goals and strategies will be understood in terms of stages of change and client readiness. Standard interviewing techniques, psychoeducational interventions, and group dynamics will be considered. Attention also will be paid to practical issues such as record keeping, case management, and consultation with members of other helping professions.

PY588 Clinical Assessment of Substance Use Disorders (1.5 credits)
This course concerns routine and specialized procedures for assessment of substance use and co-occurring disorders, beginning with the elicitation of informed cooperation from clients and selection of appropriate measures. Instruments covered will include clinical and structured interviews, behavioral observation, clinician rating scales, mental status examinations, and standardized self-report and observer-rated measures of symptoms and personality traits. The use of assessment data in case formulation, the synthesis of clinical findings into clear, useful written reports, and the therapeutic presentation of assessment feedback to clients also will be emphasized.

PY589 Addiction Counseling II: Advanced Techniques (3.0 credits)
This course will introduce students to specific techniques used by substance use counselors, with primary emphasis on evidence-based treatments. Didactic and theoretical presentations will be interspersed with practical demonstrations and supervised practice of skills. The approaches taught may vary, but will include some of the following: motivational interviewing, the community reinforcement approach (with family involvement), relapse prevention training, cue exposure methods, and standard psychoeducational interventions (e.g., BASICS and/or values clarification).

PY590 Treatment Planning & Evaluation in Addictions Counseling (1.5 credits)
This course concerns the integration of diagnostic and other assessment findings into individualized treatment plans, the sensitive presentation of recommendations to clients, the collaborative development of treatment goals with clients, the translation of broad goals into a sequence of potentially attainable, measurable objectives, and the selection of appropriate interventions. Methods of monitoring client progress toward objectives, modifying objectives based on results or new findings, and evaluating the success of individual cases or treatment programs also will receive attention.