Addictive Behavior Counseling

Addiction is something that almost every single person will encounter at one time or another in our life. Whether from a family member, a friend or co-worker, neighbor or even one’s own addiction; addiction’s impact is far reaching.  In TCE 533 counseling students learn to recognize signs of substance abuse and addiction, along with methods and models of counseling and treatment approaches.  Students will learn about the use of assessments, from a basic four question assessment to more in-depth assessments used in different milieus. Additionally, students will learn a model (SBIRT) that has been recently introduced into the field of healthcare, where nurses and doctors are able to quickly “screen, provide brief intervention, referral to treatment.”

Students come to this class with their own world view of addiction.  One of the first discussions and lectures that take place in this class is the etiology of addiction and the disease concept.  Students then read two autobiographies of a father and son who live with the son’s addiction to drugs.  By reading these two stories, students are also introduced to the concept of co-occurring disorders, and the impact on families. In the hybrid format, students will discuss their weekly readings each week, either online or in class and provide written reflections online.  These readings also will be connected to each week’s lectures, either on-line or in class.

During face to face time, students will learn and practice motivational interviewing, a brief counseling model that is evidenced based and now widely being used in the addiction field.  To help student understand the challenges with addiction and making behavioral change, students will be required to “quit” a habit/substance for the duration of the class.  These substances are ones they use on a regular basis, such as coffee, soft-drink, nightly dishes of ice-cream.  This exercise serves students in several ways.  First, they get to experience firsthand what it means to “quit or give up” something they enjoy. Secondly, it helps them as they “real-play” clients in a counseling setting, as each student practices motivational interviewing.

TCE 533 will be held during winter term, 2014 and will meet for 3 hours every other Thursday evening – for a total of 5 meetings. I expect about 30 students, from both the clinical mental health and school counseling tracks.  There will be brief lectures both online and in class.  I also would like to provide “video samples” both online and in class for students to view and use while practicing the skills of motivational interviewing.  Students will be required to lead demonstrations in the class and post a video online as well.  Students will be assigned reading groups and will meet for discussions each week, either in class or online.  The weeks they post their discussions online will be asynchronous.

Finally, students will be required to keep a habit journal of their experience online.  Each student will choose an addiction to research and write about and will post their papers online for peers to review.  Students’ work online will be consistently linked to in class experiences and online/in class discussions.

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One Response to Addictive Behavior Counseling

  1. witzkek says:

    This sounds like such a powerful class! Our two fields (counseling and exercise science), share much in common, not the least of which is the importance of behavior change. I love the activity you have planned where students will give up something they enjoy (their “addition”) and then journal about that experience. It will mean something and the power of making it personal will never leave them! I want to take your class 🙂

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