Psychology Insider: CalSouthern's New Certificate in Addiction Studies

Jan 18, 2013 by Dr. Bob Weathers
Dr. Robert Weathers
Dr. Bob Weathers

Owing to unprecedented modern stressors, addiction to both substances (alcohol, drugs) and behaviors (sex, shopping, gambling) has never been more prevalent. As a result, counseling for addicted populations is a major growth industry. For example, with the return of military veterans, many of whom self-medicate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms with alcohol or other drugs, there is a nearly overwhelming need for mental health practitioners skilled in interventions with addicted individuals.

To meet needs such as these, as well as many others, the California Southern University School of Behavioral Sciences proudly introduces its new Pre-Baccalaureate Certificate in Addiction Studies.

The Certificate in Addiction Studies integrates theory and the practical application of skills necessary to work with the alcohol and drug abuse population. The program’s curriculum focuses on multiple perspectives of the addiction process, including theories related to recovery and how to prevent relapse; current, state-of-the-art intervention techniques; the ethics specific to working with addicted populations; communication skills unique to substance abuse treatment; the roles and responsibilities of an addictions treatment case manager—even the nuts and bolts of clear, professional documentation and record-keeping.

NAADAC CertificateA major advantage of CalSouthern’s Certificate in Addiction Studies is that it has been fully approved by, and meets the educational requirements for the two “gold standards” in addiction counseling: the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) and the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).  With CAADAC and/or NAADAC certification, you qualify for a wide range of chemical dependency counseling positions in California and across the nation.

CalSouthern students who earn the Certificate in Addiction Studies also have the option to continue their studies by applying these credits toward a bachelor’s or graduate degree in psychology. We make it easy for you: if you should decide that psychology, beyond this certificate, is what you want, we can easily streamline your entry into further studies here at CalSouthern. You’ll get advanced standing based on your completed courses, plus you’ll already be familiar with your favorite CalSouthern instructors and classmates, as well as our unique, simple-to-navigate online approach to lifelong learning

The Certificate in Addiction Studies consists of 33 units of addiction-focused psychology courses. You should expect to take approximately two years to complete all requirements.

Courses include:

  • Foundations of Addiction;
  • The Physiology and Pharmacology of Substance Abuse;
  • Counseling and Treatment of the Chemically Dependent;
  • Ethical and Professional Issues in Chemical Dependency;
  • Alcohol, Drugs, Family and Culture;
  • Group Treatment of Addiction;
  • Families and Addiction;
  • AIDS and Chemical Dependency;
  • Case Management: Assessment, Treatment Planning, Relapse Prevention, & Aftercare; and
  • Supervised Practicum & Field Placement.

Here are just a few highlights of some of the courses you’ll be taking:

Our Foundations of Addiction course offers you a complete grasp of the history of substance abuse and its treatment through human history—things that work and things that don’t.  Physiology and Pharmacology of Substance Abuse course incorporates the very latest research examining how our emotional lives, including relationships, affect our brains, for better or for worse, as well as why alcohol and drugs so often are used as a form of self-medication to cope with the resulting chemical imbalances in our bodies and brains.

In Counseling and Treatment of the Chemically Dependent, you’ll explore a full range of practical options, from complete abstinence (as in the 12-Step programs) to more recent models of harm reduction (with moderation the goal) to primary prevention (intervening early enough to address problems before they spiral downward, leaving individuals vulnerable to alcohol and drug abuse simply to cope).

Addiction CounselorOur Alcohol, Drugs, Family, and Culture course puts a spotlight on contemporary American cultural pressures, for example, to perform at only the highest level, where substance abuse may enter into the picture as a means to managing super-human stresses or just to “unplug.” Group Treatment of Addiction and Families and Addiction each offer an opportunity to explore both how addictions may be affected by family pressures, as well as how they can be alleviated by working with the entire family in a group counseling setting.

Finally, our Supervised Practicum and Field Placement course provides a true grounding of all that came before—theory and research—into a highly practical, rubber-meets-the-road opportunity to learn by doing, namely, by developing counseling skills with actual clients under professional, highly skilled experts as direct supervisors

In addition to the curriculum itself, other benefits help make CalSouthern’s Certificate in Addiction Studies truly outstanding and unique. With our 100-percent online format, you have total flexibility. You can move through the courses quickly if you want, or proceed more gradually, particularly if you’re already balancing work and family responsibilities.

You’ll be encouraged to bring your own personal experiences and self-reflection to the program. We aim for an “emotionally intelligent” addiction counselor, one who brings not only book learning, but also hard-earned wisdom “from the streets.” Both are valuable!

At CalSouthern, our faculty mentors are invested in constantly updating the curriculum with all major, new developments in this rapidly growing field. You can trust that you’ll be getting the most cutting-edge education imaginable. And, of course, you’ll receive CalSouthern’s signature “personal touch” while interacting with actively engaged faculty mentors as well as your similarly interested classmates, who bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and personal experience to the program.

If you would like to learn more about CalSouthern’s new Pre-Baccalaureate Certificate in Addiction Studies—or know of someone interested in the growing and rapidly evolving field of addiction counseling and treatment—you can receive additional information from your academic advisor, on our website or by contacting an enrollment advisor at (800) 477-2254.

About the author:
A highly regarded educator and university administrator, as well as recovery coach, author, and public speaker, Dr. Bob Weathers holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with an M.A. in religious studies. Over the course of his professional career, “Dr. Bob” has provided tens of thousands of hours of therapeutic counseling and recovery coaching to satisfied clients. He has also committed the past 35 years to teaching, training, and inspiring graduate-level mental health providers at several southern California universities, most recently here at California Southern University.

Dr. Bob is currently academic effectiveness coordinator at CalSouthern, engaged full-time in ongoing initiatives for improving the educational experience of our learners, including his chairing the brand-new Student Advisory Council (more about this soon to be announced in a future newsletter). Additionally, Dr. Bob has published numerous articles in a broad cross-section of respected professional reference books, journals, and edited volumes.

Dr. Bob’s current writing and in-demand public speaking focus on applying the principles of Integral Recovery (a body/mind/spirit approach) to healing from the shame and stigma of active addiction on the way to sustained, successful recovery. For fun, he loves to perform locally, as an avid, lifelong drummer, in his own widely praised jazz ensemble.



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