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College of Allied Health Sciences
Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies


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MS, Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling

Program Goals and Objectives

 

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Mission Statement

The Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling Program at East Carolina University serves students from North Carolina, the United States, and the world. The mission of the Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling program is to prepare qualified addictions and clinical counseling/clinical mental health professionals with competence in the following foundational components germane to these specialty areas. These include counseling, prevention, and interventions; assessment and diagnosis; diversity and advocacy; and research and evaluation. This mission is accomplished by faculty working together in partnership with university colleagues, current and former students, and community agencies in the pursuit of excellence in addictions and clinical counselor education, supervision, practice, and research.  

Program Goals

The program goals of the Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling program are to:

  • develop and maintain curricula and instruction based on current knowledge concerning the addictions and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling needs of a multicultural society;
  • develop and maintain research that is designed to improve addictions and clinical counseling/clinical mental health services with evidence-based strategies that advance the addictions and clinical counseling profession;
  • maintain outreach, advocacy, leadership, and service to our community and to the addictions and clinical counseling/clinical mental health profession; and achieve
  • program excellence as defined by obtaining CACREP accreditation in the areas of addiction counseling and clinical mental health counseling.

General Program Objectives

The objectives of the Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling Program were developed to support the mission of the program and are based on current knowledge and projected needs concerning counseling practice in a multicultural and pluralistic society. Developed in collaboration with current and former students, various accrediting and licensing boards, and personnel in cooperating agencies, the faculty identifies the following General Program objectives:

  • Professional Orientation

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • the history and philosophy of the counseling profession;
    • the roles, responsibilities, and functions of professional counselors and their relationships with other human service providers, including strategies for interagency/interorganization collaboration and communications;
    • counseling supervision models, practices, and process;
    • professional organizations, including membership benefits, activities, services and current issues;
    • professional credentialing, including certification, licensure, and accreditation practices, standards, and their effects on public;
    • the role of professional counselors as advocates of the profession and for clients, including addressing institutional and social barriers that impede access, equality and success for clients; and
    • the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association and the ability to solve ethical problems which arise in the practice of counseling

  • Social and Cultural Foundations

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • multicultural and pluralistic trends including characteristics and concerns within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally;
    • oneself, in relational to culturally diverse clients;
    • the theories of multicultural counseling, identity development, and social justice;
    • individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, including multicultural competencies;
    • the counselor's role in developing cultural self-awareness, promoting cultural social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, and other culturally supported behaviors that promote optimal wellness and growth of the human spirit, mind, or body; and
    • the counselor's role in eliminating biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.

  • Human Growth and Development

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • the theories of individual and family development and transitions across the life span;
    • the theories of learning and personality development, including current understandings about neurobiological behavior;
    • the effects of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on persons of all ages;
    • the theories and models of individual, cultural, couple, family, and community resilience;
    • a general framework for understanding exceptional abilities and strategies for differentiated interventions;
    • human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises, disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior;
    • the theories and etiology of addictions and addictive behaviors including strategies for prevention, intervention, and treatment; and
    • the theories for facilitating optimal development and wellness over the life span.

  • Career Development

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

  • career development theories and decision-making models;
  • career, avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information resources, and career information systems;
  • career development program planning, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation;
  • the interrelationships among and between work, family and other life roles and factors, including the multicultural issues in career development;
  • career and educational planning, placement, follow-up, and evaluation;
  • assessment instruments and techniques relevant to career planning and decision making; and
  • career counseling processes, techniques, and resources, including those applicable to specific populations in a global economy.
  • Helping Relationships

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • wellness and prevention as desired counseling goals;
    • counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes;
    • essential interviewing and counseling skills
    • counseling theories that provide models to conceptualize client presentation and assist in selecting appropriate counseling interventions. The models provided are consistent with current research and practice to assist in the development of a personal model of counseling;
    • a systems perspective that provides an understanding of family and other systems theories and major models of family related interventions;
    • a general framework for understanding and practicing consultation; and
    • crisis intervention and suicide prevention models, including the use of psychological first aid strategies.

  • Group Work

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge, understanding, and experience (where appropriate) of:

    • the principles of group counseling dynamics, including group process components, developmental stages theories, group members' roles and behaviors, and therapeutic factors of group work;
    • various group counseling leadership or facilitation styles and approaches;
    • theories of group counseling, including commonalities, distinguishing characteristics, and pertinent research and literature;
    • group counseling methods, including group counselor orientations and behaviors, appropriate selection criteria and methods, and methods of evaluation of effectiveness; and
    • direct experience participating as group members in a small group activity for at least 10 clock hours, over the course of one semester.

  • Assessment

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • the historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment;
    • the basic concepts of standardized and nonstandized testing and other assessment techniques, including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, performance assessment, individual and group test and inventory methods, psychological testing, and behavioral observations;
    • statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations;
    • reliability (theory of measurement error, models of reliability, and uses of reliability information);
    • social and cultural factors related to the assessment and evaluation of individuals, groups, and specific populations; and
    • ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling.

  • Research and Evaluation

Upon completing the program each student shall have knowledge and understanding of:

    • the importance of research in advancing the counseling profession;
    • research methods such as qualitative, quantitative, single-case designs, action research, and outcome-based research;
    • statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation
    • principles, models, and applications of needs assessment, program evaluation and the use of findings to effect program modifications;
    • the use of research to inform evidenced-based practice; and
    • ethical and culturally relevant strategies for interpreting and reporting the results of research and program evaluation studies.

Addiction and Clinical Mental Health Specific Objectives

The Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling master's degree program provides experiences which teach students to provide leadership in the field, and to:

  • understand the historical, philosophical, societal, and cultural trends in addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • understand, apply, and adhere to legal and ethical principles specifically related to the practice of addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling, including the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA); NAADAC, the Association for Addiction ProfessionalsNorth Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB); Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW); and American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Code of Ethics;

  • know the roles, functions, and settings of addiction and clinical counselors/clinical mental health counselors as well as the relationship between addiction and clinical counselors/clinical mental health counselors and other mental health professionals (e.g. psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists), including interdisciplinary treatment teams;

  • know and understand the structures and operations of professional organizations (e.g., American Counseling Association, Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors, International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors, American Mental Health Counselors Association, North Carolina Counseling Association); competencies, preparation standards, and state credentials (e.g., Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist, Licensed Professional Counselor); and credentialing bodies (e.g., Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, Council on Higher Education Accreditation) pertaining to the practice of addiction and clinical counseling/mental health counseling;

  • know and apply a variety of models (e.g., biopsychosocial, transtheoretical model of behavioral change, public health, disease) and theories (e.g., cognitive behavioral, reality/control, harm reduction) of addiction related to substance use and other addictions (e.g., food, gambling, sex) as well as clinical mental health counseling, including the methods, models, and principles of clinical supervision;

  • know the behavioral, psychological, physical health, and the social effects of psychoactive substance and addictive disorders on the user and significant others;

  • recognize the potential for addictive disorders to mimic medical and psychological disorders and the potential for medical and psychological disorders to coexist with addiction and substance abuse;

  • understand the factors that increase the risk of and resilience to psychoactive substance use disorders in a person, community or group;

  • understand the impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on persons with addictions and mental health issues;

  • understands the operation of an emergency management system within addiction and mental health agencies in the community;

  • know the principles of addiction education, prevention, intervention, and consultation;

  • know the models of treatment, prevention, recovery, relapse prevention and continuing care for addictive disorders and related problems;

  • understand the role of spirituality in the addiction recovery process;

  • know a variety of helping strategies for reducing the negative effects of substance use, abuse, dependence, and addictive disorders;

  • understand the principles and philosophies of, and possess the ability to refer clients to addiction-related self-help programs (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-anon, Overcomers Outreach, Women for Sobriety) and other support groups (e.g., divorce, single parents, depression) when appropriate;

  • understand professional issues relevant to the practice of addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling, including recognition, reimbursement, and right to practice;

  • be aware of professional issues that affect clinical counselors/clinical mental health counselors (e.g., core service providers status, expert witness status, access to and practice privileges within the managed care systems);

  • understand the management of mental health services and programs, including areas such as administration, finance, and accountability.

  • understand and apply knowledge of public policy of substance abuse and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling, financing, and regulatory processes to improve service delivery in addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • describe the principles of addiction and mental health, including prevention,intervention, consultation, education and advocacy, as well as operation of programs and networks that promote mental health in a multicultural society;

  • know the etiology, the diagnostic process and nomenclature, treatment, referral and prevention of addiction, mental and emotional disorders;

  • know the models, methods, and principles of program development and service delivery (e.g., support groups, peer facilitation training, parent education, self-help);

  • know the disease concept and etiology of addiction and co-occurring disorders;

  • understand the range of mental health service delivery (addictions and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling) - - inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment and aftercare - - and clinical mental health counseling service networks;

  • understand the impact of, response to, and principles of intervention for persons with addictions and clinical mental health issues during times of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events;

  • know the principles, models, and documentation formats of biopsychosocial case conceptualization and treatment planning;

  • recognize the importance of family, social networks, and community systems in the treatment of addiction and recovery processes and in the treatment of mental and emotional disorders;

  • use the principles and practices of diagnosis, treatment, and referral and prevention of addiction and other mental and emotional disorders to initiate, maintain, and terminate counseling;

  • individualize helping strategies and treatment modalities to each client's stage of dependence, change, or recovery;

  • applied multicultural competencies to addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling involving case conceptualization, diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of addictive, mental, and emotional disorders;

  • promote optimal human development, wellness, and mental health through prevention, education and advocacy activities;

  • apply effective strategies to promote client understanding of and access to a variety of community resources;

  • demonstrate appropriate use of culturally responsive individual, couple, family, group, and systems modalities for initiating maintaining, and terminating counseling;

  • demonstrate the ability to use procedures for assessing and managing suicide risk;

  • demonstrate the ability to provide counseling and education about addictive disorders to families and others who are affected by clients with addictions;

  • demonstrate the ability to provide culturally relevant education programs that raise awareness and support addiction and substance abuse prevention and the recovery process;

  • apply current record-keeping standards to addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • provides appropriate counseling strategies when working with clients with addiction and co-occurring disorders;

  • demonstrate the ability to recognize his or her own limitations as an addiction and clinical counselor/clinical mental health counselor, and to seek supervision or refer clients when appropriate;

  • understand how living in a multicultural society affects clients who are seeking addiction and clinical mental health services;

  • understands the effects of racism, discrimination, sexism, power, privilege, and oppression on one's own life and career and those of the client;

  • apply multicultural competencies to addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling involving case conceptualization, diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of addictive, mental, and emotional disorders;

  • demonstrate appropriate use of culturally responsive individual, couple, family, group, and system modalities for initiating, maintaining, and terminating counseling;

  • understand current literature that outlines theories, approaches, strategies, and techniques shown to be effective when working with specific populations of clients with addictions or mental andemotional disorders;

  • understand effective strategies that support client advocacy and influence public and government relations on local, state, national levels to enhance equity, increase funding, and promote programs that affect the practice of addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • understand the implications of concepts such as internalized oppression and institutional racism as well as the historical and current political climate regarding immigration, poverty, and welfare;

  • know public policies on local, state, and national levels that affect the quality and accessibility of addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling services;

  • maintain information regarding community resources to make appropriate referrals for clients with addictions, emotional and mental health issues;

  • apply effective strategies to promote client understanding of and access to a variety of community resources;

  • advocate for polices, programs, and/or services that are equitable and responsive to the unique needs of clients with addictive, emotional and mental health issues;

  • demonstrate the ability to modify counseling systems, theories, techniques, and interventions to make them culturally appropriate for diverse populations of addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health clients;

  • know the principle and models of assessment, case conceptualization, theories of human development, and concepts of normalcy and psychopathology leading to diagnoses and appropriate counseling treatment plains;

  • understand various models and approaches to clinical evaluation and their appropriate uses, including diagnostic interviews, mental status examinations, symptom inventories, and psychoeducational and personality assessments;

  • know specific assessment approaches for determining the appropriate level of care for addictive and mental health disorders, and related problems;

  • understand the assessment of biopsychosocial and spiritual history;

  • understand basic classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications so that appropriate referrals can be made for medication evaluations, and to recognize the side effects of such medications;

  • identify standard screening and assessment instruments for substance use disorders and process addictions;

  • select appropriate comprehensive assessment interventions to assist in diagnosis and treatment planning, with an awareness of cultural bias in the implementation and interpretation of assessment protocols;

  • demonstrate skills in conducting an intake interview, a mental status evaluation, a biopsychosocial history, a mental health history, and a psychological assessment for treatment planning and case management;

  • screen for psychoactive substance toxification and withdrawal symptoms; aggression or danger to others; potential for self-harm or suicide; and co-occurring mental and/or addictive disorders;

  • help clients identify the effects of addiction on life problems and the effects of continued harmful use or abuse;

  • apply assessment of clients' stages of dependence, change, or recovery to determine the appropriate treatment modality and placement criteria in the continuum of care;

  • understand how to critically evaluate research relevant to the practice of addiction counseling and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • know models of program evaluation for addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health treatment and prevention programs;

  • know evidence-based treatments and basic strategies for evaluating counseling outcomes in addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • apply relevant research findings to inform the practice of addiction counseling and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling;

  • develop measurable outcomes for addiction and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling programs, interventions, and treatments;

  • analyze and use data to increase effectiveness of addiction counseling and clinical counseling/clinical mental health counseling interventions and programs;

  • know the principles of the diagnostic process including differential diagnosis and demonstrate the appropriate use of diagnostic tools, including the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), to describe the symptoms and clinical presentation of clients with addictive disorders and mental and emotional impairments;

  • understand the established diagnostic and clinical criteria for addictive, mental, and emotional disorders and describe treatment modalities and placement criteria within the continuum of care;

  • know the impact of co-occurring addictive disorders on medical and psychological disorders;

  • understand the relevance and potential cultural biases of commonly used diagnostic tools as related to clients with addictive, emotional, and mental disorders in multicultural populations;

  • understand appropriate use of diagnosis during a crisis, disaster, or other trauma-causing event;

  • demonstrate appropriate use of diagnostic tools, including the current edition of the DSM, to describe the symptoms and clinical presentation of clients with additive, mental and emotional impairments;

  • be able to conceptualize an accurate multi-axial diagnosis of disorders presented by clients and communicate the differential diagnosis with collaborating professionals; and

  • differentiate between diagnosis and developmentally appropriate reactions during crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events.