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Overview of Curriculum

Curriculum Options

The full certificate program includes all three of the tracks listed below. Participants can register for the full program or single tracks.

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.

1. Engagement, and Understanding Difficult Behavior Change

When improved service outcomes are sought in the behavioral healthcare field, the focus typically turns to upgrading the involved treatment modality. While attention to evidence-based treatment interventions is important, an increasing amount of rigorous research has found that the quality of the relationship between practitioner and service recipient is at least equally important, if not more so. This module reviews the evidence showing the impact of relational factors on treatment outcomes, and discusses demonstrated strategies for improving the interpersonal aspects of engagement and subsequent service delivery that impact outcome success.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify nine evidence-based relational elements and describe why valuing the client relationship is important.
  2. Describe the importance of engagement and how it relates to the entire therapeutic/treatment sequence.
  3. List the four variables in the "change equation" for difficult behavior, and their relative importance.

2. Stages of Change and Motivational Enhancement

One of the most significant contributions to the field of addictions treatment over the past decade has been the consideration of the client's stage of readiness to change. This module will explore the history and development of the seminal Transtheoretical Model of Change, and how that model has informed the subsequent "stages of treatment" framework embodied in the Substance Abuse Treatment Scale (SATS). Additionally, this module will cover the implications for intervention corresponding to various stages of change/treatment, the place of motivational enhancement, and how these perspectives can inform effective addictions treatment.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify six stages in the transtheoretical model of change.
  2. Describe why it is important to identify a client's stage of change before attempting treatment interventions.
  3. Describe the primary goals and types of interventions corresponding with the four stages of treatment.

3. Motivational Enhancement Skills I

Utilizing various content resources, including material developed and popularized by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, this module is intended to provide an introduction to Motivational Interviewing for practitioners working with substance-involved clients. This training session will lay a foundation for participants to begin to develop their Motivational interviewing/enhancement skills in the service of better facilitating forward progress with substance-using clients who are ambivalent about making the behavioral changes necessary to appropriate sustainable recovery.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the four phases of working with clients in the motivational interviewing framework.
  2. Identify the 5 strategic skills of motivational interviewing and describe how they are useful in working with ambivalent clients.
  3. Describe how the spirit of motivational interviewing is different from some traditional addictions treatment approaches.

4. Motivational Enhancement Skills II

Utilizing various content resources, including material developed and popularized by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, this module is intended to provide basic Motivational Interviewing skill-building for practitioners working with substance-involved clients. This training session will deepen and advance participants' development of Motivational interviewing/enhancement knowledge and techniques in the service of better facilitating forward progress with substance-using clients who are ambivalent about making the behavioral changes necessary to appropriate sustainable recovery.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Distinguish between simple and complex forms of reflective listening.
  2. Describe ten techniques for evoking change talk.
  3. Distinguish between four types of preparatory change talk and three types of mobilizing change talk.

5. The Brain Chemistry of Addiction, Withdrawal and PAWS

Substances of abuse are often divided into the categories of Depressants, Stimulants, and Hallucinogenics. The use of substances from each of these categories lead to identifiable symptoms corresponding with intoxication and withdrawal syndromes. This module covers the symptom constellations of intoxication, acute withdrawal, and post-acute withdrawal from each of these substance types, including the neurochemical mechanisms of action underlying each one. Implications for understanding relapse and relapse prevention strategies will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the acute withdrawal syndromes from depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogenic substances of abuse.
  2. Describe how neurochemistry functions in both intoxication and withdrawal syndromes and their associated symptoms.
  3. Describe three relapse prevention strategies, and how to address the challenges of post-acute withdrawal from various substances.

6. The Twelve-Step Model and other Peer-led Resources

The 12-Step model, originally developed as part of Alcoholics Anonymous, has a demonstrated history of success as an avenue of recovery for alcohol-dependent individuals, as well as widespread adaptation to address other substance and behavioral addictions. Yet the 12-Step model is not without its critics, and various other peer-led models have developed that embody some philosophical and other differences. This module will educate participants about the history and distinctive of the 12-Step model, its application to a variety of substance and behavioral addictions, and the potential goodness-of-fit for clients with the 12-Step approach and other models. Additionally, discussion will address strategies for building and utilizing connections with community-based, peer-led groups for the benefit of those receiving addictions treatment.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and their various wider applications.
  2. Compare and contrast the 12-Step model/approach with other peer-led models/approaches.
  3. Describe how to build and leverage partnerships with 12-Step fellowships and other peer-led support groups in the local community.

7. Cognitive Behavioral Approaches (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral approaches in addictions treatment have had wide application, with demonstrated success. This module covers the basic principles and distinct elements of cognitive- behavioral therapy, as well as reviewing research findings on the application of CBT in addictions treatment, including Project MATCH. Additionally, participants will be provided with two manualized treatment intervention models for use with clients addicted to alcohol, and to cocaine.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the efficacy findings of cognitive behavioral therapy from the Project MATCH research study.
  2. Identify five distinctive elements of cognitive behavioral therapy compared with other intervention models.
  3. Describe two evidence-based applications of cognitive behavioral approaches, for use with clients addicted to alcohol, and to cocaine.

8. Stage-matched Group Work

A variety of types of therapeutic group work have emerged in the addictions field, ranging from didactic formats, to skill-building sessions, to process-oriented work. This module will address the goodness-of-fit between these various types of group work and clients at various stages of addictions treatment. Additionally there will be opportunities for participants to be introduced to content/curriculum in support of providing each of the three levels of stage-matched group work.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the differences between didactic, process, and skill-building treatment groups.
  2. Describe how utilizing three different types of group work enhances treatment effectiveness at different stages.
  3. Identify content/curriculum for use in delivering each of the three levels of stage-matched group work.

9. Professional Ethics I

The field of behavioral health and addictions is complex, and involves many areas of direct practice and supervision that require a thoughtful knowledge base in the code of ethics to guide decision-making. Working with individuals with addictions requires an understanding of stigma, the evolution of addictions treatment in the development of contemporary ethics, and evidence-based approaches for persons with substance use disorders. Discussions of making sure chemical addictions counselors are aware of licensing, and micro- and macro- level considerations of ethical practice are crucial, as is practice using vignettes and case studies.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe values, ethical principles, and ethical standards for addiction treatment providers.
  2. Describe specific ethical dilemmas that arise in addictions practice.
  3. Differentiate between compliance and ethical practice regarding guidelines for behavioral health professionals, according to the requirements of licensing, ethical codes, and state/federal requirements.

10. Professional Ethics II

The field of behavioral health and addictions is complex, and involves many areas of direct practice and supervision that require a thoughtful knowledge base in the code of ethics to guide decision-making. Working with individuals with addictions requires an understanding of stigma, the evolution of addictions treatment in the development of contemporary ethics, and evidence-based approaches for persons with substance use disorders. Discussions of making sure chemical addictions counselors are aware of licensing, and micro- and macro- level considerations of ethical practice are crucial, as is practice using vignettes and case studies.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the process for ethical decision-making when competing ethical considerations are at play in addictions practice situations.
  2. Apply ethical principles to culture and spirituality in addictions treatment.
  3. Describe specific ethical issues within addictions treatment related to harm reduction.

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