Delivering Excellence in Lifelong Learning
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Professional Addiction Studies

Building holistic skills for health professionals.

Program is offered entirely online!

Course Descriptions


Core Courses

ADD 201 Introduction to Addiction (3 Units)

This course provides an overview of addiction from a holistic standpoint through the examination of both theory and the continuum of helping interventions currently used in Canada. The course also explores the prevention and treatment continuum in Canada along with providing an introduction to ethical and legal issues an addiction professional will face.

ADD 202 Pharmacology (3 Units)

This course provides an in-depth examination of the unique attributes of each of the four groupings of psychoactive agents: depressants (including opioids), stimulants, hallucinogens and psychotherapeutic agents, including psychoactive affects and the effects of the withdrawal process. The relationship between psychoactive drug pharmacology and how drugs are classified as licit or illicit will also be examined.

ADD 203 Counselling Skills for Addiction Professionals (3 Units)

This course provides the foundational counselling concepts and practice skills required when supporting individuals in the field of addiction. The focus will be on applying communication skills within the stages of interviewing. Emphasis will be placed on how to engage clients and to cultivate the helping relationship. A basic model of crisis intervention will be examined for a variety of crisis situations that are common in the field of addiction work. Through use of experiential learning and audiovisual demonstrations, students will practice counselling skills using frameworks such as TTM and MI. With the integration of counselling concepts and techniques, students will develop a personal counselling approach.

ADD 204 Addiction Treatment: Theories, Models and Applications for Professional Practice (3 Units)

This course is designed to help answer the question 'what really works in the treatment of addiction?' It offers a review of what we know to date about best practices in the treatment of addiction. A template will be offered on how to engage the client throughout the counseling process, with the focus on the client as the most important agent of change. Case management is integral in the counselling work and will be explored in detail with the aim to develop effective strategies. Attention will also be given to students developing a personal wellness plan that reflects understanding of worker burnout and/or vicarious trauma.

ADD 205 Group Work and Mutual Aid (3 Units)

This course will explore theories and models of group intervention, with emphasis on developmental stages of groups and their application to work in addiction settings. Group dynamics, process and goals will be explored. An exploration of mutual aid and its function in the addiction field will include comparing and contrasting professionally led with peer facilitated group processes.

ADD 206 Assessment and Treatment Planning (3 Units)

Using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework, this course provides students with the foundational skills needed to accurately screen and assess addiction and compulsive behavior issues. Students will develop an individualized treatment plan that considers a client’s strengths and unique needs. Students will learn to develop effective clinical documentation and report writing skills.

ADD 207 Human Development in Context: Understanding the Person with Addiction Issues (3 Units)

This course examines the developmental changes across the human lifespan and the reciprocal relationships they have with addiction. There will be a review of personality theories and how the integration of these theoretical perspectives can provide a more holistic understanding of the person with addiction issues. Students will learn about treatment interventions specific to each theory. The assessment and treatment process is explored from a bio-psycho-social-spiritual lens.

ADD 208 Families and Addiction (3 Units)

The course offers a systemic approach to working with families and addiction. The influence of substance use on family dynamics and the concept of co-dependency and its relevance in the context of treatment will be examined. How ethnic and cultural issues, age, gender, mental health and family violence differentially impacts the family's overall functioning will be examined. Students will practice effective ways to engage families in treatment, conduct assessments, and set treatment goals.

Elective Courses

ADD 209 Trauma Informed Care in Addiction (3 Units)

This course provides students with the opportunity to develop knowledge about the impact of trauma and implications for treatment of individuals who use substances and or engage in other compulsive behaviours. Students will explore trauma informed practices that are being used in screening, assessment and treatment of individuals. Given the potential for vicarious trauma, the development of a well thought out personal and professional self-care plan will be a focus of this course.

ADD 210 Contemporary Treatment Approaches (3 Units)

This is a practice oriented course. The course provides a hands-on approach to counselling work with individuals with addiction issues. Several contemporary treatment approaches will be reviewed with a focus on developing knowledge and practicing specific counselling skills, such as: Solution-Focused, Strength-Based, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness principles with clients with an addiction issue. There is also an emphasis on how to engage mandated clients and individuals reluctant to change. Relapse indicators and assessment tools, treatment planning and strategies from a variety of perspectives will also be covered in this course.

ADD 211 Concurrent Disorders (3 Units)

This course prepares students to understand the complexity of mental health disorders and substance use, and the interactional relationships between them. Students will learn the prevalence of concurrent disorders, the importance of screening for both mental health and substance use, and the benefits of treating both concurrently.

ADD 212 Working with Behavioural Addictions (3 Units)

This course provides an overview of various behavioural addictions, including their development, treatment, impact on brain functioning, and distinct strategies for intervening with individuals and their support systems. Emerging issues and trends will be explored.

ADD 213 Diversity and Inclusive Practice (3 Units)

In this course, student will gain knowledge and skills for working with diverse populations with substance use concerns, including ethnic and cultural diversity, sexual diversity, indigenous persons, and various marginalized groups. This course is designed to explore the learner's own social location as well as increase knowledge and skills for working with various diverse populations. Examination of barriers to accessing services as well as specialized treatment programs developed to meet unique needs will be undertaken.

ADD 215 Field Experience (3 Units)

Students without prior employment in addiction work will substantially benefit from practical work experience in the field. This field experience opportunity will assist the student in developing an awareness of their role as an addiction professional. This course integrates the academic learning in the Professional Addiction Studies program with the practical experience of a clinical setting. Students will have the opportunity to observe and practice a wide range of skills presented in the academic courses, thereby facilitating a transfer directly to the workplace. Students will secure their own placement, in consultation with the Centre for Continuing Education. The course requires a total of 375 hours of practical experience which may be accomplished over a 6-month timespan. Students planning to use this practical experience toward the 4000 hours of supervised clinical experience required for ICADC/CCAC certification through the CACCF are strongly recommended to request prior approval from the CACCF, as strict definitions are in place to meet these hours. Although it is recommended that students wait until the end of the program to complete the field experience, the minimum pre-requisite courses prior to registering for the placement are Introduction to Addiction, Pharmacology, Assessment and Treatment Planning, Counselling Skills for Addiction Professionals.