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SA 500

Substance Abuse: Theory & Practice

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course information

This course is the first and the foundational course in the substance abuse practitioner continuing education program. Student's will study the history of substance abuse and treatment, as well as foundational facts and theories related to abuse of substances. Learning begins with a comprehensive focus on assessment of those abusing substances. Factors related to substance abuse behaviors are examined. Student's will then study and assimilate information and learn processes for treatment planning, therapeutic behavioral interventions, as well as outcomes assessment. The role of the substance abuse practitioner is identified, discussed and solidified. Students also study many assessment and planning tools to use in practice. Course Code: SA 500. Contact hours of education = 30.

Pre-requisite: Pre-requisite to enrolling in the continuing education program: registrants must be: 1.) a licensed health care professional with current, active licensure to practice, or 2). a counselor, psychologist, or social worker, or 3). an ordained or licensed minister in active ministry.

This course is particularly designed for those professionals meeting one of the pre-requisites above, would like to apply for the Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals, Inc. is a licensed Continuing Education Provider in the State of California, Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15595. Access Info

Instructor/Course Author: John Pitselos, Ph.D., CAP, CMHP

Link to Resume: access

E-mail: pitselos@yahoo.com

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete all of the continuing education courses in the substance abuse practitioner program. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the courses within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an "incomplete" will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the courses after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.


There is one (1) required textbook for this course. Substance Abuse Counseling (4TH Ed.) 2011 Judith A. Lewis, Robert Q. Dana & Gregory S. Blevins. Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. ISBN-13: 978-0534628451

You are required to order your own copy of the textbook. Please be sure to order your book as soon as possible so that you can begin your course of study.

AIHCP Online Bookstore: AIHCP provides an online bookstore stocked with all of the required textbooks, and/or materials required for its CE courses. To purchase this book online, click the access store link, go to the table of categories, right upper hand corner, and click on "Substance Abuse Counseling." Access AIHCP Store: click here


GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 30 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by the and options for completing additional course work to achieve a passing score, will be presented.

ONLINE COMMUNITY MESSAGE BOARDS: Enrolled students have full access to our online Student Community Message Boards. These message boards allow students in our CE courses to meet each other, communicate online, share information, discuss topics of study and interest and much more. Full access is provided via the online classroom.

ONLINE COMMUNITY MESSAGE BOARDS: Enrolled students have full access to our online Student Community Message Boards. These message boards allow students in our CE courses to meet each other, communicate online, share information, discuss topics of study and interest and much more. Full access is provided via the online classroom.

MESSAGE BOARDS: each specialty program has an area to "post" on the message board. Students may post messages at any time. Posting allows students to converse with those in the same specialty practice and to discuss issues/course content etc. Instructions for posting are provided in the online classrooms.

CHAT ROOMS: each specialty has its own unique "chat room." Inside of the classroom there is a schedule for "chat time" with students in your specific specialty practice. Participating in "chats" is voluntary. The chat sessions are used as means for students to come together and discuss course content or anything related to the courses and/or certification specialty.

EXAMINATION ACCESS: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as "open book" tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at any time and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.

STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER: there is a link for access to a web page "Student Resource Center." The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.

there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.

FACULTY ACCESS INFORMATION: you will have access to your instructor's online resume/biography, as well as your instructor's specific contact information.

some of our faculty have prepared additional "readings" and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.

Our site also provides specialty practice blogs, an online health care directory where members may voluntarily post information about themselves, and a health care articles blog.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Understand the concepts of Substance Abuse Prevention and Counseling
  2. Gain an historical perspective of Substance Abuse Counseling
  3. Discuss demographic, psychological, sociological and economic factors of Substance Abuse Clients
  4. Understand how age, stress and culture influence Substance Abuse.
  5. Be able to discuss theories of Substance Abuse
  6. Be able to discuss theories of Substance Abuse Counseling
  7. Be able to discuss theories of Substance Abuse Prevention
  8. Identify and discuss signs and symptoms of Substance use, abuse and dependence.
  9. Evaluate the needs of Substance Abuse Client.
  10. Recognize the issues of dually diagnosed clients.
  11. Understand Family Issues in Substance Abuse Treatment. Codependency and Enabling.
  12. Develop insight into Motivational Interviewing and Enhancement theory.  Use MI skills, and techniques.
  13. Discuss Controlled Use versus  Abstinence


Course content

An abstract of Course Content:

  • Contemporary. Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Respectful treatment of the client, empowerment, multicultural approaches.
  • Substance Abuse Counseling Theories, Skills, Models, Techniques and Disciplines.
  • Counselor Roles and Settings (Levels of Care)
  • Psychoactive Drugs and Their Effects
  • Detoxification
  • Physiological, Psychological and Sociciological Aspects of the User.
  • Motivational Interviewing and Enhancement Therapy.
  • Assessment and Treatment Planning
  • Aspects of Change
    1. Relationship  between counselor, the client and co-clients
    2. Interrupting Use
    3. Maintaining Change
  • Recognition and Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Group Treatment of the Substance Abuser
  • Causes of Relapse and Relapse Prevention Planning.
  • Family Dynamics and Treatment
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Prevention Models

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