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Addictions Certificate Program | Track 1: Addictions Treatment Foundational Skills


It is understandable that individuals struggling with substance abuse problems are often highly ambivalent about engaging and committing to treatment and recovery, especially upon initial contact with a helping professional. The skills of engagement and enhancement of client motivation are thus critical for anyone seeking to effectively assist substance-involved populations. Additional understanding of and ability to appropriately assess individuals according to whole-person frameworks is also important. This set of learning session will focus on these foundational knowledge and skill areas, as well as touching on broad, well-established treatment approaches for successfully addressing addictive disorders.


  • Identify nine evidence-based relational elements and describe why valuing the client relationship is important.
  • Describe the importance of engagement and how it relates to the entire therapeutic/treatment sequence.
  • List the four variables in the "change equation" for difficult behavior, and their relative importance.
  • Identify six stages in the transtheoretical model of change.
  • Describe why it is important to identify a client's stage of change before attempting treatment interventions.
  • Describe the primary goals and types of interventions corresponding with the four stages of treatment.
  • Describe the four phases of working with clients in the motivational interviewing framework.
  • Identify the 5 strategic skills of motivational interviewing and describe how they are useful in working with ambivalent clients.
  • Describe how the spirit of motivational interviewing is different from some traditional addictions treatment approaches.
  • Distinguish between simple and complex forms of reflective listening.
  • Describe ten techniques for evoking change talk.
  • Distinguish between four types of preparatory change talk and three types of mobilizing change talk.
  • Identify the acute withdrawal syndromes from depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogenic substances of abuse.
  • Describe how neurochemistry functions in both intoxication and withdrawal syndromes and their associated symptoms.
  • Describe three relapse prevention strategies, and how to address the challenges of post-acute withdrawal from various substances.
  • Identify the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and their various wider applications.
  • Compare and contrast the 12-Step model/approach with other peer-led models/approaches.
  • Describe how to build and leverage partnerships with 12-Step fellowships and other peer-led support groups in the local community.
  • Describe the efficacy findings of cognitive behavioral therapy from the Project MATCH research study.
  • Identify five distinctive elements of cognitive behavioral therapy compared with other intervention models.
  • Describe two evidence-based applications of cognitive behavioral approaches, for use with clients addicted to alcohol, and to cocaine.
  • Describe the differences between didactic, process, and skill-building treatment groups.
  • Describe how utilizing three different types of group work enhances treatment effectiveness at different stages.
  • Identify content/curriculum for use in delivering each of the three levels of stage-matched group work.
  • Describe values, ethical principles, and ethical standards for addiction treatment providers.
  • Describe specific ethical dilemmas that arise in addictions practice.
  • Differentiate between compliance and ethical practice regarding guidelines for behavioral health professionals, according to the requirements of licensing, ethical codes, and state/federal requirements.
  • Describe the process for ethical decision-making when competing ethical considerations are at play in addictions practice situations.
  • Apply ethical principles to culture and spirituality in addictions treatment.
  • Describe specific ethical issues within addictions treatment related to harm reduction.

Self-Paced Agenda

Expected DurationDescription
self-pacedEngagement, and Understanding Difficult Behavior Change
self-pacedStages of Change and Motivational Enhancement
self-pacedMotivational Enhancement Skills I
self-pacedMotivational Enhancement Skills II
self-pacedThe Brain Chemistry of Addiction, Withdrawal and PAWS
self-pacedThe Twelve-Step Model and other Peer-led Resources
self-pacedCognitive Behavioral Approaches (CBT)
self-pacedStage-matched Group Work
self-pacedProfessional Ethics I
self-pacedProfessional Ethics II
self-pacedLive Q&A Session
hybrid certificate program


  • self-paced

CE Contact Hours

  • 6 ethics asynchronous online
  • 22.5 regular asynchronous online
  • 1.5 regular live interactive online

Skill Level




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