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Top Professional Development Courses for Professionals Interested in Addiction Counseling

Every day, addiction counselors have the opportunity to make a positive impact on their clients’ lives.

As a mental health professional, you might have some experience working with clients who engage in addictive behaviors or substance abuse. Substance use disorders and behavioral addictions are complex health concerns that frequently co-occur alongside mental health and physiological health issues. Addiction counselors may work with a variety of clients or specialize in a particular age range, type of addiction, or substance abuse problem.

Taking professional development courses focused on addiction counseling can help expand your knowledge of this field, learn new theories and treatment strategies, and increase your capacity to help.

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Here are a few of the top courses for mental health professionals interested in addiction counseling:

Counseling Addictive Disorders
In this course, students gain a foundational understanding of how to approach clients who have both substance-related and behavioral addictions. You’ll examine historical perspectives and current trends in addiction treatment, along with biological and environmental influences on the etiology of addiction. You will learn techniques and processes for assessment and diagnosis in the context of individual, group, and systemic perspectives, taking into account multicultural and developmental influences on addiction. Students also look at the impacts of public policy and advocacy on addiction and treatment.

This is a 5-credit course and comes from a CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program.

Theories, Treatment, and Case Management of Addiction
Treatment intervention and case management strategies for addiction counseling are the main topics for this course. Students focus on the use of various models of treatment, recovery, relapse prevention, and continuing care for addictive disorders. You’ll look at treatment principles and philosophies of addiction-related programs—and increase your self-awareness as an addiction counselor by assessing your own limitations, recognizing when you need additional resources and support, and knowing when and where to refer clients when appropriate. In addition, you’ll delve into substance abuse policies and regulatory processes that impact service delivery in addiction counseling.

This is a 5-credit course and comes from a CACREP-accredited CMHC program.

Social Change in Action: Prevention, Consultation, and Advocacy
In this course, students focus on prevention, intervention, and consultation with specific populations in different settings. You’ll delve deeply into these three areas of mental health counseling, including the relationships among them, methodological applications, and related ethical and legal considerations. With your peers, you’ll spend time discussing issues such as applications for social change, needs of specific populations, iatrogenic harm, professional approaches and challenges, program evaluation, and future trends. Using an action-research model, you’ll develop a blueprint for a project to address a contemporary mental health issue—such as a type of addiction in a demographic or population—through the context of prevention, intervention, or consultation.

This is a 5-credit course and comes from a CACREP-accredited CMHC program.

The Neuroscience of Addiction
In this professional development course, students can gain a better understanding of the complexities behind substance abuse disorders and addictive behavior disorders. You will have the opportunity to discuss the history of opioid and alcohol addiction, learn about its affects on the human nervous system, gain an understanding of how adolescent brains are impacted by drugs, and more.

The Practice of Addiction Counseling
If you’re interested in strengthening your approach to effective client treatment plans for those suffering from addictions, this professional development course can help. You’ll learn best practices for diagnosing a client with a substance use disorder and working with them to create a treatment plan. Other content covered in the course includes the NAADAC Code of Ethics, biopsychosocial intake and assessment, case conceptualization, and more.

The Principles of Addiction
Learning to understand the biological, environmental, and social antecedents that make a person vulnerable to disorders is a great first step in treating their disorders. In this professional development course, you will explore various approaches to treatment, including holistic, client-centered, and integrative. You’ll also be able to identify treatments gaps, risk factors, and types of trauma and their consequences.

Walden University’s School of Lifelong Learning offers for-credit and professional development counseling courses for mental health professionals wishing to deepen their knowledge and widen their scope of skills. The courses cover a range of topics, including crisis management, vicarious trauma, and psychopharmacology. With decades of experience providing practical and engaging online courses and degree programs, Walden is a great choice for anyone interested in furthering their education or gaining new skills.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering hundreds of individual online courses for professionals in a range of disciplines. Expand your skills and career options using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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