M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Treatment of Addiction Disorders Concentration in D.C.

Program Description

The Chicago School’s Counseling Psychology, Treatment of Addiction Disorders concentration at our Washington, D.C. Campus prepares graduates to help individuals overcome mental health challenges and emotional issues that prevent them from living life to the fullest. 

This concentration within the M.A. in Counseling Psychology program provides specific education in the area of assessment, intervention/prevention, and treatment of alcohol, drug abuse (AODA), and other behavioral addictions. This master’s program prepares individuals with the skills necessary to provide effective counseling psychology services for a wide range of addictions in community-based environments.

Counseling Psychology students at our Washington, D.C. Campus will gain an understanding and appreciation for how diverse populations and cultural issues impact those who need addiction treatment. They will also acquire the essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills required to work with diverse populations afflicted with a variety of emotional and psychological conditions. 

Subjects such as historical development of substance abuse and addictions are explored from the following perspectives—cultural perspectives and uses, including subcultures; current stances on legalization; the “war on drugs”; and developing concerns from a growing list of addictive disorders, including sexual addictions, internet addictions, video gaming addictions, eating disorders, and shopping addictions.


Clinical Counseling



Washington, D.C., program is designed in accordance with licensure requirements in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware and can be adjusted to conform with the requirements for licensure in other nearby states in the region

Total Credits


Fieldwork Requirements

Year 2: 700-hour (minimum) placement experience

Program Time to Completion

2 years (six semesters) full time or 4 years part time
  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A course in Psychology, with a grade earned of C or better
  • A course in Statistics or Research Methods, with a grade earned of C or better
  • N/A
Admission Requirements

GRE Requirements

Sample Courses

Biological Bases and Psychopharmacology of Addiction

Provides an orientation to the current biological theories of substance abuse as well as other addictions, such as gambling, shopping, sex and food. The course reviews genetics, neurobiology, reward mechanisms, and the effects on the brain, as well as developmental issues. In addition the course will present a) a comprehensive review of commonly abused legal and illegal drugs b) the effects on the body and mind including, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, FES/FAS, dementia, and pregnancy, and c) a review of the current medical, pharmacological, and alternative physical treatments (acupuncture, herbs). There is a special focus on women, children, adolescents, and MISA populations.

Historical and Legal Developments in Addictions Disorders

Designed to increase the student's understanding of the historical development of substance abuse and addictions from the following perspectives: origin and progression of legislation, cultural perspectives and uses including subcultures, current stances on legalization, the "war on drugs," and the most current developing concerns from the growing list of addictive disorders (e.g. sexual addictions, internet addictions, video gaming addictions, eating disorders, and shopping addictions.) Considerations for how these disorders apply to special populations such as people of color, GLBT persons, ethnic-multicultural populations, the economically disadvantaged, the oppressed, veterans, women, children and adolescents, and HIV-positive clients are discussed. Also included in this course is a review of the ethical guidelines for addiction counselors and knowledge of related agencies, such as IODAPCA, SAMHSA, NIAAA, and CSAT.

Evaluation and Treatment of Addictions

Provides an in depth examination of the assessment and treatment of addictive disorders. This includes understanding diagnostic criteria, reviews of tools and measurements for assessment, drug testing, ASAM criteria, and knowledge and skills regarding current treatment models (Motivational Interviewing, Harm Reduction, 12-Step), as well as the types of programs and resources available for treatment care planning. There is a special focus on women, children, adolescents, dual diagnosis populations, and treatment in the criminal justice system. Role play, cased-based learning, and practice exercise will be utilized in order to maximize skill development in this course.

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