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M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Treatment of Addiction Disorders Concentration

  • Chicago, IL
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2 Years Full-Time, 3-4 Years Part-Time

By focusing on treating a wide range of addictions to a diverse population, The Chicago School’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology: Treatment of Addiction Disorders program prepares students for successful careers as professional counselors in a variety of settings. This Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling program assists students in understanding the psychology behind addiction, as well […]

By focusing on treating a wide range of addictions to a diverse population, The Chicago School’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology: Treatment of Addiction Disorders program prepares students for successful careers as professional counselors in a variety of settings. This Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling program assists students in understanding the psychology behind addiction, as well as prepares them to work in the field with patients.

The concentration has Advanced Accreditation from the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA). Therefore, when a student completes the concentration classes and a practicum/internship at a DASA approved site, he/she will be eligible to sit for the CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) upon degree conferral.

While focusing on the areas of assessment, intervention/prevention, and treatment of alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) and other behavioral addictions, students will be guided by practitioner faculty through subjects including:

  • Historical development of substance abuse
  • Cultural perspectives and uses
  • Current stances on legalization
  • The “war on drugs”
  • Addiction versus Compulsion
  • Sexual addictions
  • Internet addictions
  • Video gaming addictions
  • Eating disorders
  • Shopping addictions

Chicago campus graduates from the M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Treatment of Addiction Disorders will be prepared to sit for the Professional Counselor licensure in Illinois (LPC). After passing the exam, graduates can begin their careers as licensed counselors in a variety of professional settings including, but not limited to:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Schools
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Primary care settings

M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Treatment of Addiction Disorders: Chicago Student Experience

The Chicago Campus provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves into a culturally diverse city with nearly unlimited academic resources as well as excellent networking opportunities. Chicago is also home to some of the nation’s finest dining, entertainment, museums, and other activities.

At our flagship campus, The Chicago School has demonstrated a continued commitment to a diverse student population and expanding mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

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Biological Bases and Psychopharmacology of Addiction

This course 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 the following:

  • A comprehensive review of commonly abused legal and illegal drugs
  • The effects on the body and mind including, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, FES/FAS, dementia, and pregnancy
  • 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

This course is 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, LGBT 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

This course 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, case-based learning, and practice exercise are utilized to maximize skill development in this course.

The M.A. Counseling Psychology program aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

The practicum and internship placement experiences serve to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of a professional counselor. Students have the opportunity during the practicum and internship experiences to synthesize their knowledge, technique and skills learned in the classroom. These supervised field placements allow students to provide direct services to clients and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts in professional counseling in a clinical setting. Students are able to choose to apply to a wide variety of training sites that include community mental health centers, child welfare and family service agencies, substance abuse programs, college counseling centers, as well as private group practices. The sites available for the training experience are chosen based on their ability to serve diverse populations that will offer the best possible experience to equip students for working in the counseling field. Students are required to complete a minimum of a 9-month placement experience and complete at least 700 hours with 280 direct service hours during the placement to meet the Illinois licensure requirements.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook as well as the Internship Training Manual provided by the Applied Professional Practice department.

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Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
203 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Counseling Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.A. in Counseling Psychology program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following question within three double spaced typed pages (approximately 500-750 words). Essay must specifically address the program/specialization for which you are applying.
    • Psychology is a vast discipline with many career options. In an essay format, please describe:
      • Why you chose this particular program/specialization making sure to cite specific experiences and examples.
      • Why it is important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes cultural awareness, competence, and understanding of diversity (see our Commitment to Diversity statement).
      • Your professional career goals as they relate to this specialization.
      • Why you believe this program will assist you in reaching these goals.
    • Official College/University Transcripts
      • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
      • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
    • Previous Coursework
      • Earned grade of C or better in the following undergraduate courses:
        • Psychology
        • Research Methods
      • Applicants without these courses must complete them in accordance with the policies outlined in the Progression requirement section of the catalog
  • Optional:  Official GRE scores may be used to enhance your application
    • You must arrange for your official GRE scores to be sent to the school. Our school code is 1119.
    • Students who have yet to take the GRE examination should contact them at to register for an exam date.
    • Students who have taken the test within the last five years should contact them at, to have their scores forwarded directly to the school.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid Department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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