Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Psychology Department

Courses in Substance Use Counseling

Summary of the four WCSU Psychology Substance Use Counseling courses

Prerequisites for these courses are Introductory Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. These prerequisites provide the background necessary for students to begin this sequence and were kept to a minimum so those students with majors other than psychology would not be excluded. Students are encouraged to obtain a broad undergraduate education and this is consistent with the recommendations of the Connecticut Certification Board.

PSY 392 Substance Use Counseling: Assessment and Counseling 4 SH

The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the criteria and methods for diagnosing substance use and other mental disorders.  Students will also study the requirements for ethical practice.  Individual differences among substance abusers will be examined.  Criteria for determining levels of treatment, and motivation for change will be identified.  The significance of self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) will be evaluated.  The importance of considering gender, ethnic, age, and health-status differences in diagnosing and providing treatment will be considered for every topic in this course.

Alternate spring semesters. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 202.

PSY 393 Substance Use Counseling: Drugs and Behavior 4 SH

In this course, the pharmacology of the classes of psychoactive substances and the most widely used substances within each class will be studied.  This study will focus on information most important in substance abuse counseling and will include a consideration of tolerance, withdrawal, and protocol for detoxification from psychoactive substances.  Students will consider the methods of transmission, medical, psychological, and neurological effects of HIV/AIDS, and consider substance abuse treatments for patients with HIV/AIDS.  Guidelines for ethical practice will be analyzed.  The history and effectiveness of AA, NA, and alternative self-help groups will be reviewed, and standards for integrating self-help participation in treatment plans will be developed.  Practice considerations resulting from differences in gender, ethnicity, age, LGBT, and health status will be analyzed.

Alternate fall semesters. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 202.

PSY 394 Substance Use Counseling: Counseling Techniques 4 SH

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.

Alternate spring semesters. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 202.

Psychology 395: Substance Use Counseling: Applied Counseling 4 SH

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.  

Alternate fall semesters. Prerequisite: PSY 100 and PSY 202.