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SA 560


Ethics in Substance Abuse Counseling


This course presents a comprehensive study of ethics as it applies to those working in the addictions profession. It lays out the foundation of ethical principles, decision-making and legal implications as well considerations when ethical principles conflict. Issues related to dual relationships in therapy as well as the efficacy and ethical implications of harm reduction therapy are examined.The implications and application of ethical principle in the treatment of clients from diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds are considered. The student will gain a greater understanding of the counselor’s ethical responsibilities as it relates to legal involvement in counseling issues including court ordered treatment, workplace drug testing, civil competency, malpractice and other related issues. Finally, ethical considerations in the treatment of women, children and adolescents and those experiencing chronic pain are examined. Course Code = SA 560. Continuing education hours = 15.


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Instructor/Course Author:  Thomas Schear, Ph.D

Link to Resume

E-mail: tschear@ccmsinc.net

Pre-requisite: Pre-requisite to enrolling in the continuing education program: must have successfully completed the course: SA 500: Substance Abuse Theory and Practice I and SA 510: Foundations of Addictions Counseling and 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.

BOARD APPROVALS: The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (The Provider) is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, Provider number # CEP 15595 for 15 Contact Hours. Access information

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here

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.

TEXTBOOKS: There are two (2) textbooks required for this course.

The Book of Ethics: Guidance for Professionals Who Treat Addiction. By: Laura Weiss Roberts, M.D. and Cynthia M. A. Geppert, M.D. Hazelden; 1st edition:2008. ISBN-10: 1592854923 ISBN-13: 978-1592854929

Link to Purchase on Amazon.com: click here

Advanced Ethics for Addiction Professionals by Michael J. Taleff ISBN # 9780826124586

Link to Purchase on Amazon.com: click here

Questions 1 through 32 are drawn from the Geppert/Roberts book while questions 33 through 70 are based on the Taleff book.

GRADING: You must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 15 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.

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:

  • Identify ethical principles in both their theoretical and practical application to ethical dilemmas in the addictions field.
  • Understand the potential of conflicts that can crop up between various ethical principles.
  • Identify the challenges that can be represented by the potential of dual relationships in the therapeutic setting.
  • Understand the application of ethical principles to the harm reduction model of addiction therapy.
  • Understand how to apply ethical principles to support the necessity of treatment and applying treatment strategies to the treatment of the client with a co-occurring disorder.
  • Identify how clients from a cultural or spiritual background different from counselor can be a challenge in therapy and how ethical principles can help guide the counselor in properly address them.
  • Discuss the ethical implications and the application of ethical principles with clients who are also involved in the legal and court system.
  • Discuss the implications and application of ethical principles with female clients and the special considerations and challenges they bring to the therapeutic relationship.
  • Discuss the implications and application of ethical principles with children or adolescent clients and the special considerations and challenges they bring to the therapeutic relationship.
  • Understand how clients with chronic pain represent a particularly challenging client in light of the balance that must be made between the treatment of pain, the potential for addiction and potential regulatory scrutiny.


Ethical Foundations of Substance Abuse Treatment
The Therapeutic Relationship in Substance Abuse Treatment
The Ethics of Harm Reduction
Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Persons With Co-Occurring Disorders
Cultural and Spiritual Dimensions of Addiction Treatment
Forensic Issues in the Treatment of Addictions
Ethical Issues in the Treatment of Women With Substance Abuse
Ethical Aspects of the Treatment of Substance Abuse in Children and Adolescents

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