Master of Science in Counseling – Addiction & Substance Abuse Counseling Emphasis

Help Save Lives from Drug and Alcohol Abuse with a Master's in Addiction and Substance Counseling

Many American adults, teenagers and even children struggle with addiction to drugs, alcohol, opioids and other stimulants.

For individuals seeking a meaningful career path that allows them to service individuals and families dealing with substance abuse, MACU’s accredited Master’s in Addiction and Substance Counseling degree program prepares students for professional counseling.

The M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Addiction and Substance Counseling provides the training and tools students need to support individuals suffering from alcohol, drug and other substance use disorders. Substance abuse counselors have the unique and rewarding opportunity to help those who are struggling restore their lives and their relationships.

In the program, students will prepare for a career in addiction and substance abuse counseling by studying topics such as addiction in the family, pharmacology of drugs of abuse and advanced counseling and psychotherapy techniques. 

What Sets Apart MACU's Master's in Addiction and Substance Counseling Degree?

In MACU's Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling program, instructors teach from a Christian perspective and are committed to helping students enhance their spiritual lives. In addition, students will learn how to consider spirituality and diversity while counseling others, no matter their backgrounds or beliefs.

Because courses are cohort-based, students have the opportunity to learn from one another and build community, whether on-campus or online.

As an accredited private university, Mid-America Christian University is dedicated to student success. When you earn your Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling from MACU, you prepare yourself to seek licensure as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) or mental health counselor in Oklahoma.

To pursue licensure in other states, please contact the appropriate certifying or licensing body.

Recognition:

MACU’s Counseling degree was recently recognized by Study.com as one of the Best Online Counseling Degree Programs in the U.S. for educational excellence, affordability, faculty quality and more. Study.com also applauded MACU’s accelerated learning format, particularly in combination with our Life Experience Program. In addition to helping adult learners earn their online degree quickly, Study.com also noted the variety of emphasis programs available at MACU, allowing students to prepare for licensure through coursework, practicum and internship opportunities.

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Courses

Code Course
COUN5113 Psychopathology
The ability to systematically perform differential diagnosis and establish the larger context for understanding the diagnosis is essential to the professional counselor. Using case studies, students will perform a structured protocol for performing a differential diagnosis with the current DSM disorders. The following primary skills will be developed: Recognizing criteria oof abnormality to increase sensitivity to identifying relevant symptomology, performing the structured steps of a diagnosis, recognizing co-occurring disorders to understand the range of issues needed for treatment planning, performing a differential diagnosis to distinguish the correct diagnosis from similar conditions, identifying the influence of medical conditions on symptomology, predicting the impact of crisis and trauma on symptomology and functioning to further quality treatment planning, and systematically appropriately ruling out malingering, factitious disorder, adjustment disorders, and substance etiology to finalize a correct diagnosis.
COUN5123 Career Counseling and Development
The cornerstone of career counseling is recognizing that it touches all aspects of human life, for it involves political, economic, educational, philsophical, and social progress and changealong with understanding the whole person as a member of complex social systems. The specialized content of career counseling includes initial career choice, the connection between career and personal problems, adaptations to changes in the workplace, multiple career dilemmas, and maintenance of a balanced lifestyle. The interactions of career, life, and gender roles on marriages, couples, and families will be an important focus of this course. Students will develop a comprehensive approach for skillfully performing career counseling that also incorporates personal concerns by examining and applying career assessment theory, performing major theories of career counseling are examined along with the presentation of major types of resource information, and employing research on trends in the world of work.
COUN5213 Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
The foundation of counseling knowledge is the in-depth understanding of established theories counseling. Students will perform a comprehensive study of the prominent theories of counseling and psychotherapy, issues related to their application involving diversity, the roles of spirituality and wellness as it relates to mental health and addiction clients, and how to practically apply the theories based on individual issues and needs. The study of the theories includes personality theories, theories of motivation, theories of change, and ways to analyze case studies to make high quality clinical decisions for treatment. Students will experience a special focus on theoretical reasoning in both explaining the theories and fully elucidating case example in order to develop an integrated foundation upon which the more detailed study of the couseling field will build.
COUN5233 Alcohol and Drug Addiction
The foundationof the study of addiction counseling requires the understanding o fhuman behavior and how it applies to addiction and elements of substance abuse. This course presents a comprehensive framework of the history and development of addiction. Students will identify factors impacting addiction, including socialization, which increases the likelihood of a person, community , or group to be at risk for or reilient to psychoactive substance use disorder. The evolution of the roles and settings of the addiction counselor, along with the ethical and legal issues involved in addiction and substance counseling, will be considered.
COUN5313 Individual Counseling and Psychotherapy Techniques
The crucial skills and strategies of counseling and psychotherapy establish a basic structure applicable to many different theories that counselors can employ and integrate into their own natural style of helping. Students will study and apply the multi-culturally sensitive micro-skills approach to provide the critical background for competence in listening, influencing, and structuring an effective counseling session with individuals, families, couples, and marriages.Through practice session, students will master a basic structure for the session applicable to many different theories including developing an emphatic relationship and working alliance with the client; drawing out the client's story with special attention to strengths and resources, setting clear goals with the client, enabling the client to restructure and think differently about concerns, issues, and challenges, and helping the client move to action outside the session. Students will acquire skills for identifying and addressing common issues in working with clients' spiritual/religious issues to promote optimal functioning to increase meaning and purpose in life. Strength and character assessment and feedback will be employed to promote counselor dispositions in performing the counseling process.
COUN5333 Addiction in the Family and Assessment Theory
Counselors, working with individuals and families involving addiction, require a comprehensive understanding of the theories of addiction, assessment and diagnosis, treatment setting and planning, and the etiological theories of substance abuse. Students will sthudy the major theories and methods currently employed inthe assessment and treatment of substance abuse and addiction. An emphasis is placed on the evaluation of substance abuse patterns and the assessment of various treatment alternatives. The social aspects of familiy risks resiliencies will be extensively studied incorporating racial, ethnic, and cultural issues. Foundations for culturally and developmentally relevant education programs that raise awareness, support addiction and substance abuse prevention, and enhance the recovery process will be developed incorporating gender and sexual orientation differences, mutual-help groups, and public policy. Students will learn to develop treatment plans using the procedures a counselor or progra pactices to identify and evaluate individuals' strengths, weaknesses, problems, spiritual and other biopsychosocial factors and needs.
COUN5433 Addiction in the Family Counseling
A major focus of this course is for students to learn to skillfully perform addiction and substance abuse counseling including the adaptation of individual, group, marital, and family treatment techniques. An emphasis will be given to the acquisition of competencies for students to apply stregth-based therapeutic strategies and interventions incorporating an understanding of biology and addiction across the life span with the treatment of eating disorders, gambling, shopping, sex, other behavioral addictions, and co-occurring mental disorders or disabilities. Additionally, strategies for prevention, retaining sobriety, and relapse prevention of addiciton and substance abuse will be acquired for working with individuals and families. Students will study processes for addressing the treatment issues and characteristics of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural populations as well as the social aspects of addiction which includes: Family risks and resiliencies, gender distinctions, and sexual orientation differences.
COUN5513 Marriage and Family Systems and Treatment
Family therapy has a revolutionary emphasis on systems thinking and the search for identifiable and recurring family patterns to be explored in this course. Students will examine the history and developmetn of marriage, couple and family counseling including foundational theories and principels of family development, the contemporary family, family subsystems, individual and interpersonal relationships, and grasping the influence of larger systems - race, social class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation - on the functioning family and its individual members. Students will utilize systematic theories to describe problems and structure solutions by acquiring knowledge of the model of marital and family counseling. Students will examine the fundamentals of the family including adopting a family relationship framework, family development, diverstiy in family functioning, systems theory and systematic thinking, and the development and practice of family therapy. The range of theories examined includes: Psychodynamic models, transgenerational models, experiential models, the structural model, the strategic models, behavioral and cognitive-behavioral models, social construction models, and population-based family treatments.
COUN5533 Pharmacology of Drugs of Abuse
The counselor who treats addiction and substance requires a strong foundational knowledge of the nature of drugs of abuse and their impact. This course focuses on basic behavioral pharmacology; the behavioral analysis of drug effects; tolerance and conditioning of drug effects; the nervous system and neurological functioning as it relates to psychological disorders, the effects of medications and other substances on hte individual's cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral functioning; and characteristics of dependence and addiction. Students will examine the pharmacokinetics of drug action(s), the side effects of psychoactive and psychotherapeutic drugs, the development of tolerance, the development of dependency and issues regarding withdrawal, and cross addiction(s). Additional study will include: The self-administration of drugs, alcohol and its effects, tranquilizers and sedative hypnotics, inhaled substances, tobacco and nicotine, caffeine and methylxanthines, psychomotor stimulants, the opiates, antipsychotic drugs, antodepressants and mood stabilizers, cannabis, and hallucinogens.
COUN5643 Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling Theory and Techniques
The application of theories and techniques of counseling with a special emphasis on models/methods of alcohol and substance abuse/addiction/dependency counseling is important for the addiction and professional counselor. The current treatment research, and application of theoretical models, and the successful methods in the treatment process of addiction and substance abuse will be extensively examined. Understanding the causes, social implications, treatment (including the principles and philosophies of self-help), cultural competency and prevention methods and skills will be extensively studied.
COUN5713 Human Development
The foundations of biological, neurological, and physiological factors along with systematic and environmental factors affecting human development, functioning, and behavior is the primary focus of this course. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan will be included. Students will explore theoretical and research approaches in the study of the development of human abilities and behavior throughout the lifespan - childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Topics include developmental research methodology, variables influencing development, and basic developmental processes in physical, motor, perceptual, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social, and personality development. Applications of developmental theory to counseling are emphasized.
COUN5913 Research Methods
Highly qualified counselors comprehend research and the scientific method behind the conclusions presented. Students will compose well-written research presentations demonstrating an experimental design for study by constructing a hypothesis clearly delineating dependent and independent variables and explaining the framework for performing the study. The research project will include the significance, the potential impact on mental health research based on a comprehensive review of the literature, and an appropriate research design. The nature and design of experimental, observational, quasi-experimental, survey, and correlational studies will be examined related to behavioral observation. Students will assess the quality of research studies to include proper design, correct utilization of descriptive and inferential statistics, accurate analysis of the research data, and the appropriateness of the conclusions drawn from the data.
COUN6133 Multi-Cultural Treatment Planning for Individuals and Families
Providing professional counselors with multicultural counseling theory and practices for culturally competent interventions within the broad range of important areas of culturally diverstiy along with the in-depth study of factors resulting in diagnostic symptomology is a major focus of this course. The scope of cultural diversity includes race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic disadvantage, and military service correlated with how these impact diagnostic interviewing, assessment methods, treatment planning, and the counseling relationship. Significantly enhancing diagnostic interviewing and assessment skills, students will extensively explore the etiology and underlying dynamics of the range of the current DSM diagnoses, design appropriate evidence-based treatment plans, and develop strategies for modifying treatment plans and processes related to cultural diversity.
COUN6233 Ethics and Professional Studies
The detailed study of the legal and ethical codes for professional licensure establishes a framework fro ethical decision-making essential to quality practice. The major focus of study is the American Counseling Association's ACA Code of Ethics along with investigation of other professional codes. Case studies presenting common dilemmas and conflicts are extensively analyzed to identify potential risks and areas of concern, to recognize the ethical standards involved, and to understand essential principles for preventing ethical violations or properly resolving ethical issues. Students will examine the theoretical and philosophical issues fundamental to fully comprehending the codes. Major themes of study include the following: Professional socialization/relationships, the role of the professional organization, confidentiality and privacy, proper assessment and interpretation of data, supervision and training, distance counseling, technology and social media, the legal responsibilities and liabilities involving record keeping, third party reimbursement and other considerations pertaining to independent practice and inter-professional cooperation, ethics, and family law. Students will learn advocacy processes for addressing institution and social barriers that impede equity and success for clients.
COUN6333 Advanced Counseling and Psychotherapy Techniques
The application of a range of treatment interventions aligned with the major theories of counseling establishes the framework for effective result-oriented counseling. Students will learn to skillfully apply counseling theory in real-world settings by intense study of theory-specific approaches to case conceptualization and treatment planning. Students will examine the evidence base for each theory as well as unique applications for specific culturally and sexually diverse populations. Students will design and perform counseling sessions based on the conceptualization of treatment that incorporates a wide range of treatment interventions. Models for performing treatment can include distress tolerance skills, emotion regulations skills, cognitive thinking strategies, cognitive-behavioral methodologies, belief processing and cognitive reframing, therapeutic relaxation and mindfulness, thinking strategies, experiential changes techniques, psycho-physiological methods, and advanced therapeutic language skills.
COUN6433 Assessment of Individuals and Families in Counseling
Mental health assessment provides the counselor with information for performing correct diagnoses, developing treatment plans, uncovering the dynamics underlying psychopathology as part of the total assessment of individuals and famillies. Students will acquire assessment interviewing skills to include biopsychosocial assessment to increase competence in making and explaining diagnoses with assessments relevant to individual counselors as well as marriage, couple, and family counselors. Students will analyze case studies to develop the skills for determining the appropriateness of performing assessment, selecting types of assessment instruments and writing mental health reports. Students will administer and interpret a personality inventory and learn the purpose, basics of interpretation, and rules of administration of various assessment instruments included: Intelligence tests, personality instruments, projective tests, neuropsychological tests, and disorder specific tests.
COUN6533 Intervention for Individuals and Families in Crisis and Trauma
Competent professional counselors need to use methods for the practical application of research for professional development in the wider range of human issues and psychopathology. By discovering and providing research-supported information regarding a range of problems, students will become proficient in developing famillies confonted with crises and trauma. The range of problem situations and psychopathological issues include: Issues impacting marriages (financial, work, dual-careers, in-laws, affairs, partner in prison, disasters, abortion); Children in the family (having children, children rearing practices, living together); singleness, separation, divorce, second marriages and beyond, blended families, step-parenting, ex-spouse, being a custodial parent, losing custody, family violence and spousal abuse (physical and sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect), addictions and substance abuse, chronic illness, hospitalizations, dying partner, effect of partner death, effect of a child's death, gay and lesbian relationships, impact of mental illness, suicide and para-suicidal behavior, homicidality, bullying, adolescent acting out behavior, sexuality and issues of desire, sexual dysfunction, impact of unemployment and under-employment, impact of changes in the socioeconomic standing of the family.
COUN6833 Group Dynamics and Counseling
Applying the various theoretical models to group counseling and analyzing group dynamics in a therapeutic setting is important for the professional counselor. Students will extensively study the basic elements of group process, deal with ethical and professional issues special to group work, and determine how to apply key concepts and techniques of approaches to group counseling. Students will participate in an applied lab activity to experience the group process to acquire skills in group psychotherapy methods and demonstrate effective facilitation of a counseling group. Methods for receiving referrals, adapting groups to various settings, assessing appropriate membership, and preparing participants for receiving appropriate benefits from the group process will be presented.
COUN6943 Practicum/Internship for Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling
Supervised clinical experience and practice in counseling fieldwork in the Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling emphasis degree program as approved by the School Chair or Program Director. The Practicum / Internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation and CACREP standards. The Practicum / Internship will total a minimum of 700 hours of service: 100 hour for Practicum over a minimum of a 10-week period and a minimum of 600 hours for Internship. Maximum totals can be increased to accommodate various state practicum requirements for online students.
COUN6946 Practicum/Internship for Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling
Supervised clinical experience and practice in counseling fieldwork in the Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling emphasis degree program as approved by the School Chair or Program Director. The Practicum / Internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation and CACREP standards. The Practicum / Internship will total a minimum of 700 hours of service: 100 hour for Practicum over a minimum of a 10-week period and a minimum of 600 hours for Internship. Maximum totals can be increased to accommodate various state practicum requirements for online students.
COUN6949 Practicum/Internship for Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling
Supervised clinical experience and practice in counseling fieldwork in the Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling emphasis degree program as approved by the School Chair or Program Director. The Practicum / Internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation and CACREP standards. The Practicum / Internship will total a minimum of 700 hours of service: 100 hour for Practicum over a minimum of a 10-week period and a minimum of 600 hours for Internship. Maximum totals can be increased to accommodate various state practicum requirements for online students.
COUN6973 Practicum
Supervised clinical experience and practice in counseling fieldwork in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling, or Martial, Couples, and Family Therapy (depending on the student’s degree emphasis) as approved by the School Chair. The Practicum occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation and CACREP standards. The Practicum will total a minimum of 100 hours of over a minimum of a 10-week period.
COUN6983 Internship
Advanced supervised clinical experience and practice in counseling fieldwork in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling, or Martial, Couples, and Family Therapy (depending on the student’s degree emphasis) as approved by the School Chair. The Internship occurs concurrently with course work and follows guidelines set forth in licensure preparation and CACREP standards. The Internship will total a minimum of 600 hours of service. Minimum totals can be increased to accommodate various state practicum requirements for online students.

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