Substance Abuse Counselor Training Curriculum

certified substance abuse counselor trainingThere are six phases to the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC ) curriculum which are outlined below. The Institute of Chemical Dependency Studies Substance Abuse Counselor Training Curriculum is designed so that if you attend classes for one weekend a month, in just six months, you will complete all six phases in our substance abuse counselor training curriculum, and have met all the education requirements to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in California.

Tuition will include the related texts and manual’s you will need to complete the course. The material for each phase is broken down as follows:

CADC Training Curriculum

Phase I – The Basics of Addiction Counseling and the Physiology of Addiction

Texts: Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, Loosening The Grip, ICDS Training Manual Phase I

Phase 1 covers:

  • The various aspects of chemical addiction [both drugs and alcohol], including the process of addiction, and signs and symptoms of addictive behavior;
  • Pharmacological and physical effects of substances of abuse;
  • Multiple addictions;
  • The approach of the 12-Step program of recovery.

Phase II – Twelve Core Functions of an Addiction Counselor

Texts: ICDS Training Manual Phase II

Phase 2 Covers:

  • The 12 core functions of an addictioncounselor – screening, intake, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, Client Education, Referral, Report and Record Keeping, and Consultation.

Phase III: Basic Counseling Skills and Methods

Texts: Becoming Naturally Therapeutic, Loosening The Grip, ICDS Training Manual Phase III

Students will learn:

  • The basic techniques of addiction counseling: active listening, attentiveness, reflection, paraphrasing, and summarization
  • The basics of group process, group dynamics, dealing with denial and resistance, defense mechanisms, psychodrama, and other specific group-related approaches.

Phase IV: Chemical Dependency and the Family
Texts: Loosening The Grip, Intervention – Vernon Johnson, ICDS Training Manual Phase IV

Students will learn:

  • The role and dynamics of the family in Addiction counseling;
  • Co-dependency, enabling and collusion; adult children of alcoholics; family-of-origin issues; prevention and treatment in adolescents; sex addiction; domestic violence; couples and multi-family counseling; guilt and shame in the recovery process.

Phase V: Ethics and Special Treatment Issues
Texts: Ethics for addiction Counselors and Addiction Professionals, Ethical guidelines forAddiction Counselors, Criminal Justice Professional Training Manuals, Loosening The Grip

Students will learn:

  • The ethical guidelines that oversee the addiction counseling field;
  • The Criminal Justice Systems and Processes; the Dynamics of Addiction and Criminal Behavior; Dynamics of Dual Relationships; Peer Confrontation;
  • Special issues that pertain to addiction counseling such as: HIV-AIDS awareness; gambling; sex addiction; multi-cultural awareness and sensitivity; counseling special populations; women’s issues.

Phase VI: Advanced Counseling Skills and Methods

Texts: Loosening the Grip, ICDS Training Manual PhaseVI, SAMHSA TAP 21

Phase VI Cover:

  • The five major theories of personality development, and the method of therapy created by each. They include: psychoanalytic, behavioral humanistic, cognitive, and trans-personal approaches;
  • At least three methods from each of these major schools;
  • The 11 phases of relapse — particularly Gorski’s process and intervention;
  • Counselor burn-out v. counselor resilience;
  • Issues related to addiction counseling and the criminal justice system: therapeutic treatment communities, TAIP program, “safe p” programs and the continuum of care for the criminal justice offender;
  • A systematic review for the LCDC licensure exam.

Practicum: Advanced Clinical Training
300 hours onsite and curriculum based supervised instruction.


For More Information about about becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor click the links below:

Your Path to Becoming a CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor)

Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor Employment Opportunities

Become a Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor in 6 months