Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Psychology Department

Course Descriptions


PSY 592 Substance Use Counseling: Assessment and Counseling

Semester Hour Credit: 4

This course provides four hours of academic credit, and is divided into four equal parts.  The first two parts concern the assessment of substance abuse, treatment planning, and professional ethics.  This will include reviews of the prevalence and etiology of substance abuse, the assessment of substance abuse by interviews and psychometric instruments, individual differences among substance abusers, comorbidity, the determination of the level of care necessary for substance abusers, and assessments of patient’s readiness to change.  The third and fourth parts will focus on practice considerations resulting from differences in gender, ethnicity, age, LGBT, and health status.


PSY 593 Substance Use Counseling: Drugs and Behavior

Semester Hour Credit: 4

This course provides four hours of academic credit, and is divided into six equal parts.  The first two concern the pharmacology of the classes of psychoactive substances and of the most widely used substances within each class.  Included will be a review of tolerance, withdrawal, and protocol for detoxification from psychoactive substances.  The third part will focus on HIV/AIDS, especially within populations of substance abusers.  The fourth part will be devoted to the ethical requirements for substance abuse counselors.  The fifth and sixth parts will be devoted to studying counseling that is consistent with the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and alternative self-help groups.  The necessity of multicultural awareness will be emphasized throughout.


PSY 594 Substance Use Counseling: Counseling Techniques

Semester Hour Credit: 4

In this course, the most influential psychotherapeutic interventions for the treatment of substance use disorders will be studied and evaluated.  Professional ethics and guidelines for practice will be reviewed.  The counselor’s role in supporting the 12-step fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and in preventing and managing relapse will be analyzed.  Counseling issues with women, ethnic minorities, adolescents, and LGBT clients will be identified.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of how to implement treatment plans in individual and group counseling.


PSY 595 Substance Use Counseling: Applied Counseling

Semester Hour Credit: 4

In this course, specific strategies and interventions for counseling and psychotherapy with substance abusers will be studied.  There will be an emphasis on interventions that have universal applications in counseling and psychotherapy.  Sensitization to multicultural practices in counseling and psychotherapy will be emphasized.  The Stages of Change in counseling and psychotherapy and ambivalence about change will be studied.  Ethical guidelines for professional practice will be analyzed.


PSY 581 Program Evaluation and Data Analysis

Semester Hour Credit: 3

Program evaluation gathers credible evidence (data) about the activities, characteristics, and outcomes of intervention programs. Results of evaluation help us to make judgements about the substance abuse program, improve its effectiveness, and/or inform decisions about future program development. In this course, students will learn to generate outcome evaluation questions; identify and measure appropriate indicators of these outcomes using information from records, interviews, questionnaires and focus groups; and summarize and interpret these findings for appropriate audiences. The focus will be on identifying where the program achieved expected outcomes, and/or explaining any discrepancies between expectations and actual results. The primary goal of evaluation research is improving the quality of care given to clients.


PSY 582  Professional Development and Ethics

Semester Hour Credit: 3

The objective of the course is to prepare substance use counselors to engage in professional and ethical practice in the field. It will also focus on identifying common hurdles and barriers to professional and ethical practice and provide students with practical guidelines to address these barriers and intervene.


PSY 583  The Psychopharmacology of Addiction and Medication Assisted Treatment

Semester Hour Credit: 3

The objective of the course is to have students obtain a working knowledge of the psychopharmacology of addictive substances as well as of medications for both addiction and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses. Students will study the biological processes involved in tolerance and withdrawal from major categories of addictive substances. The pharmacology of medication assisted treatments for addiction will be a major focus, including being able to identify the biological mechanisms through which they work, understand the potential risks and side effects, and understand prescribing concerns specific to individuals with use of multiple substances and/or comorbid psychiatric or medical conditions. The course will also focus on identifying pathways to effective interdisciplinary practice around medication management of symptoms and to knowledge of how to become consumers of relevant, current topics in medication management of symptoms.


PSY 584  Advanced Assessment, Prevention, and Therapy of Substance Use Disorders and Co-Occurring Disorders

Semester Hour Credit: 3

The objective of this course is to prepare substance use disorders counselors for identifying and treating substance use and comorbid psychological disorders. It will also focus on the etiology and prevention of substance use and other psychological disorders. It will provide instruction in group psychotherapies and team approaches for treating these disorders. Students will study harm-reduction interventions and develop an understanding of the roles of professional therapists and self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).



PSY 585  Current Topics in Substance Use Disorders Assessment and Treatment

Semester Hour Credit: 3

The objective of the course is to have students plan and identify pathways to staying up to date on relevant clinical, research, and community based information that will inform their long-term practice of addiction counseling. Specific topics addressed will include current changes in addictive substance use, changes in community-based patterns of drug use, interaction with the medical field and with medical comorbidities, and the use of technology in clinical practice. The course will also focus on identifying pathways and tools to staying up to date on current topics in the field of addiction. Students will examine their roles as trained addiction professionals in the community through providing educational efforts, staying informed on legislative topics that are related to understanding and treating addiction, and through promoting the science of addiction.



PSY 530 Internship in Addiction Studies   (3 cr)

Semester Hour Credit: 3

Students will complete a field placement at a health service agency that includes treatment and prevention services for substance use disorders (SUDs) as either a primary or secondary focus. Students will be encouraged to complete a field placement at inter-professional and team-based care sites that are working toward or have instituted the integration of SUD, opioid use disorder (OUD), and primary care.

Internship sites will work cooperatively with WCSU Psychology to provide an internship experience that meets the goals and objectives necessary to prepare an LADC-in-training. Placement sites will provide an on-site supervisor with appropriate clinical and supervisory experience. A licensed clinical psychologist will teach the course.

The didactic portion of the course includes preparation in SUD assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Professional ethics will also be a focus of both instruction and supervision, including issues of privacy and confidentiality, dual relationships, supervision and consultation, continuing education and self-evaluation, required record-keeping, diversity in practice, and the importance of language use and stigma, among other relevant topics. A goal of the course is to prepare alcohol and drug counselors to engage in professional and ethical practice in the field.



PSY 530 Masters Project  (3cr)

Semester Hour Credit: 3

The Masters Project involves the development and presentation of a clinical case study. Students learn how to present an effective written case presentation. A critical element of the written case presentation process is the collaboration between the candidate and the supervisor. Students will work with a supervisor on the counseling and treatment planning process while the client/patient

is under the care of the student in a clinical setting. The case is based upon an actual client treated by the candidate.

Project participants will learn to review their written case to determine if it appropriately addresses essential information related to the treatment process and to ensure best practice client care. Professional behavior, confidentiality issues, and advanced management and supervision techniques will be examined.  Emphasis will be placed on evidence-based diagnosis, assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning.