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Chemical Dependency Counseling Courses

Courses in chemical dependency counseling, sometimes called substance abuse counseling, are generally part of a psychology or counseling degree program. Read on to learn about undergraduate and graduate courses.

What Are Chemical Dependency Counseling Classes Like?

In a chemical dependency counseling program, you could learn about group counseling techniques, patient assessment, casework methodologies, drug abuse patterns and social work. The courses you might find depend on the program's area of focus, such as chemical dependency, substance abuse, alcohol and drug, or rehabilitation counseling. The following are examples of classes you could take.

Disorders Related to Substance Abuse

In this course, students will learn about diagnosis and treatment of clients who abuse substances. Topics of discussion might include causes of disorders and the consequences, ethics, stigmatization, community outreach, and referrals.

Theories of Counseling

Students will learn about the theories used by counselors and various treatment modalities. Case studies will aid students in the practice of creating treatment plans.

Case Management

Students will learn how to practice case management, from service coordination to ethical practices. Topics might include theoretical and practical knowledge, documentation of therapeutic processes, and the use of basic helping skills.

Pharmacology

In this course, students will learn about psychoactive drugs, the effects of these drugs and how they are made. Students will also learn about the proper use of prescription drugs for recovery and treatment approaches.

Co-Occurring Disorders

In this overview course, students will learn about co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders, the relationship between them, and how they impact families and the community. Topics might include approaches to address the illnesses, medications, community resources, and counseling methods.

Where Can I Take Courses in Chemical Dependency Counseling?

Courses in chemical dependency counseling are usually part of counseling or psychology degree programs, which you can find at the undergraduate and graduate levels. While it's rare to find classes in chemical dependency counseling in associate's degree programs, you could pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology with an emphasis in drug counseling. This is a 4-year course of study that can be found on traditional college campuses and in distance-learning formats

At the graduate level, you could apply for master's degree programs in psychology that offer a concentration in chemical dependency counseling. These programs of study usually take 2-3 years to complete and culminate in a thesis or comprehensive exam. Some master's-level programs in chemical dependency counseling are also offered in a distance-learning format, with all the coursework available online. Alternatively, you could enroll in a graduate certificate program, which is a short, specialized series of courses that can typically be completed in a year or less.