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Course Description

Explore the fundamentals of the addictive process, and standard and systemic treatment procedures.

Examine epidemiology, risk and resiliency factors, genetic and environmental issues related to addiction, and the longitudinal course of addiction, along with its effect on couples, families and communities. Concurrent disorders, detoxification, addictions in special populations (e.g., children, women, elderly, indigenous people), as well as legal/ethical, cultural, and spiritual issues in addiction are also addressed.

Learn how to screen for addictions and use motivational interviewing and the transtheoretical model (stages of change) to formulate a treatment plan across the treatment continuum—from harm reduction to abstinence approaches. Review issues in treatment matching—from individual to group treatment options, and exposure to the addictions treatment system and how to navigate and access it in the service of your clients.

This course is designed for counsellors, therapists, social workers, mental health workers, addiction specialists, pastoral care/faith-based practitioners, and other practitioners seeking to build or enhance their practical skills and theoretical foundation in couple and family therapy, as well as those exploring therapy as a career.

This course is typically recognized by CACFT and AAMFT as a couple/marriage and family therapy or studies course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Effectively utilize theories of addiction and the current methods of intervention with the identified client and family systems
  • Apply a systemic assessment model to define the complexities of the client system presenting with addictions
  • Identify and implement appropriate protocols for working with specific populations with addictions, including adolescents, women, LGBTQI, and seniors
  • Employ interventions most commonly used with the client systems in the addiction field, including stages of change, motivational interviewing, functional analysis, goal setting, trauma protocols, and relapse prevention

Course Topics

  • Continuum of Use and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)
  • Role of the Family Therapist with the Addicted Client
  • Why People Use
  • Major Substances
  • Behavioral Addictions
  • Understanding Treatment
  • Continuum of Treatment
  • Withdrawal Management
  • Principles of Recovery
  • Trauma-informed Care
  • Addiction Treatment trends, Goals, and Options
  • Screening & Assessment
  • Level of Care & Treatment Matching
  • Harm Reduction, Principles, and Critique
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Transtheoretical Model of Change (Stages of Change) and Critique
  • Assessing Readiness to Change
  • Enhancing Motivation
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Addiction Treatment
  • Solution Focused Therapy and Addiction Treatment
  • Brief Couples Therapy and Addiction Treatment
  • Family Therapy and Addiction Treatment
  • Behavioral Addictions and Treatment Approaches
  • Addiction and Pain
  • Addiction and Pregnancy
  • Smoking Cessation

Job Market Overview


Additional Requirements

  • Prerequisite: Theories and Methods of Family Therapy: Foundations of the Field
  • Note: If you wish to take the course but have not completed the prerequisite, please contact our main office.
  • As well as scheduled instruction time, you can expect to spend approximately five to ten hours per week on course readings, activities, and/or assignments.
  • Course assignments are completed up to four weeks following the final day of the course.


Assessment Item Weight
Participation 10%
Addiction Recover Meetings Critical Reflection 30%
Addiction in Special Populations - Written Summary and Presentation (Group) 30%
Film Case Study Treatment Plan 30%
Total 100%

Please note that the course assessment is subject to change.

Sponsoring Partner

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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