Drug and Alcohol Counseling — Certificate

Program director
Randall Walker

The Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program is offered by the School of Behavioral Health through the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences.


The objectives of the Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program are to:

  • Prepare master's degree and doctoral-level professionals to effectively counsel substance-using and substance-addicted adults and their families.
  • Offer curriculum and experience for master's degree and doctoral-level professionals that meet the requirements for certification by national certification organizations.
  • Integrate certificate requirements into the existing marital and family therapy curriculum.
  • Allow hours of experience to be accrued concurrently to meet the requirements of the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and other certifying organizations.

Certificate examinations

Course work is developed to help students successfully take and pass certification examinations offered through the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD).

Field work

Students will complete three quarters of field work at an approved site dealing with addiction, alcoholics/addicts, and their families. Field work provides excellent opportunities to gain experience working with substance users and their families. Students will be evaluated quarterly. Possible placement sites include Matrix Institute on Addictions in Rancho Cucamonga, connected with the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) research system, and which participates in government-funded studies. MFI Recovery Center (My Family, Inc., Craig Lambdin) in Riverside offers a variety of opportunities to work with substance users in residential and outpatient settings. Inland Valley Recovery Services (IVRS, Roberta Reid) in Upland offers opportunities for students to work with substance users and their families in residential and outpatient treatment settings. The Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center offers students opportunities to work with substance users in a hospital setting. The Betty Ford Hospital in Rancho Mirage, Cedar House in Bloomington, and Riverside County Office of Alcohol and Drug Programs may offer additional opportunities for students to gain experience. Numerous other programs offer substance-user services in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In addition, with program coordinator approval, students may be able to work in other settings where services are not directly targeted toward substance users but where it is determined that addiction may be a significant focus of clinical attention.

Applicants must meet the School of Behavioral Health admission requirements outlined in this CATALOG and give evidence of academic ability, professional comportment, and mature judgment.

The certificate program is open to currently enrolled marital and family therapy students or other master's degree-level students or graduates. Students in the Marital and Family Therapy Program must first complete the current core marital and family therapy curriculum. Applicants will be screened for appropriateness to complete the certificate program and for ability to work with addicted adults and their families. Additional admission requirements include:

  • Applicants' reapplication to the University and meeting all requirements for application prior to admission into the certificate program.
  • A completed program application stating how the applicant will integrate the substance abuse certificate into work as a marriage and family therapist or other clinical professional, and how the applicant will contribute to the addiction treatment field and professional field by completing the certificate.
  • Two letters of reference.
  • An interview composed of faculty and student(s) currently enrolled in the certificate program may be required.
  • A critical essay examination after acceptance into the program (examination results to be used at the end of the Fall Quarter by the program director to determine if the writing course will be required).

Pre-entrance requirements:

  • A background check
  • Health clearance
COUN 524Psychopharmacology and Medical Issues3
or MFAM 524 Psychopharmacology and Medical Issues
COUN 568Groups: Process and Practice3
or MFAM 568 Groups: Process and Practice
COUN 638Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse3
or MFAM 638 Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse
MFAM 515Crisis Intervention and Client-Centered Advocacy3
MFAM 645Advanced Substance Abuse-Treatment Strategies3
REL_ 5__Graduate Level Religion3
MFAM 635
MFAM 636
MFAM 637
Case Presentation and Legal Issues
and Case Presentation and Client-Centered Advocacy
and Case Presentation and Global Practices
or MFAM 694 Directed Study: Marriage and Family
Total Units27

Normal time to complete the program

5 academic quarters based on half-time enrollment


MFAM 501. Research Tools and Methodology: Quantitative. 3 Units.

Current social research methods, practice in the use of techniques, consideration of the philosophy of the scientific method, and familiarization with MFAM test instruments.

MFAM 502. Research Tools and Methodology: Qualitative. 3 Units.

Qualitative methodology. Prepares students to undertake research projects using the intensive interview method of qualitative research. Explores practical and epistemological issues and problems in qualitative research in a workshop format.

MFAM 515. Crisis Intervention and Client-Centered Advocacy. 3 Units.

Experiential course that includes theory, techniques, and practice of crisis intervention and client-centered advocacy. Gives special attention to development of the basic skills of counseling, including: confidentiality, interprofessional cooperation, working with consumers, professional socialization, and collaboration with resources that deliver quality services and support needed in the community. Presents therapeutic tapes and covers topics such as suicide, substance abuse, domestic violence, incest, spousal abuse, rape, treating the severely mentally ill, and disaster and trauma response. Examines the principles of mental health recovery-oriented care and methods of service delivery in recovery-oriented practice environments. Cross-listing: COUN 515 .

MFAM 516. Play Therapy. 2 Units.

Experiential course that teaches practitioners and graduate students to apply play therapy techniques in dealing with childhood problems such as molestation, physical abuse, depression, trauma, and family conflict.

MFAM 524. Psychopharmacology and Medical Issues. 3 Units.

Introduces common physical and medical issues that relate to the practice of marriage and family therapy. Students learn a biopsychosocial-spiritual model to assess and intervene—with emphasis given to psychopharmacology, neuroanatomy, the mind-body relationship, and research relative to the field of medical family therapy.

MFAM 528. Culture, Socioeconomic Status in Therapy. 3 Units.

Addresses current information and historical narratives related to cultural diversity that impact belief systems, communication patterns, roles, and expectations within human relationships and systems. Examines SES and a wide range of social, racial, and ethnic factors that create meanings for individuals, couples, families, and mental health counselors. Emphasizes populations that become professional partners or clients served within this geographic region. Cross-listing COUN 528.

MFAM 535. Case Presentation and Professional Studies. 3 Units.

Introduces the principles of mental health recovery-oriented care and encourages students to develop the personal qualities related to practices within this type of health-care system. Students explore their personal biases toward and understanding of various cultures/ethnicities, as well as how poverty and social stress impact their understanding of consumers in the mental health system. Reviews marriage and family therapy ethics according to the Board of Behavioral Science, the American Counseling Association, and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Examines how spirituality and client-centered advocacy is a process important to the field. Explores the interface between MFTs, counselors, and other professionals. Students receive an IP until course criteria are met.

MFAM 536. Case Presentation and Documentation. 3 Units.

Through observation of live cases, trains student in applied psychotherapeutic techniques, assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of premarital, couple, family, aging population, the severely mentally ill, and child relationships. Examines dysfunctional and functional aspects, including recovery process, health promotion, evaluation from a systems perspective, documentation, and illness prevention.

MFAM 537. Case Presentation. 3 Units.

The third of six quarters of training work that the student will be expected to complete during the course of his/her on-campus practicum experience. Focuses on the development of a theoretical orientation as a way to develop, critique, and refine the personal and theoretical perspectives of the therapist. A clinically oriented seminar in which students are asked to prepare brief and focused presentations of individual, marital, or family cases.

MFAM 538. Theory and Practice of Conflict Resolution. 2 Units.

Overviews the field of conflict management and resolution. Basic theories and methodologies in the field, with opportunity to develop basic clinical mediation skills.

MFAM 539. Solution-Focused Family Therapy. 2 Units.

Provides an in-depth understanding of solution-focused family therapy and practice. Focuses on the work of de Shazer and Berg, along with the foundational constructs of MRI.

MFAM 544. Family and Divorce Mediation. 4 Units.

Comprehensive coverage of concepts, methods, and skills in family and divorce mediation. Includes the relational and legal aspects of property division and child custody. Substantial experience in role plays.

MFAM 545. Gender Perspectives. 2 Units.

Explores the identities, roles, and relationships of women and men in light of social, cultural, and historical perspectives. Explores implications for behavioral health professionals who work with families.

MFAM 547. Social Ecology of Individual and Family Development. 3 Units.

Studies human individual development and its relationship to the family life cycle from birth through aging and death of family members. Discusses biological, psychological, social, and spiritual development in the context of family dynamics involving traditional two-parent families, alternative partnerships, single parents, blended families, and intergenerational communities.

MFAM 549. Christian Counseling and Family Therapy. 2 Units.

Integrates Christian concepts and family therapy in a conceptual and clinical context.

MFAM 551. Family Therapy: Foundational Theories and Practice. 3 Units.

Provides an overview of the major theories in marriage and family therapy. Explores systems theory concepts in light of the major models of family therapy. Exposes students to the recovery process and consumer advocacy. Examines evidence-based models—such as cognitive behavioral, multidimensional family therapy (MDFT), and emotional-focused therapy. Through MDFT, exposes students to the treatment of addicted adolescents and their families.

MFAM 552. Couples Therapy: Theory and Practice. 3 Units.

Overview of the couples/marital therapy literature—including divorce, child rearing, parenting, step parenting, and blended families. Evidence-based practices studied relevant to consumer treatment and recovery. Examines how culture, SES, poverty, social, stress and addiction affect clinical practice.

MFAM 553. Family Systems Theory. 3 Units.

Reviews Bowen theory of family systems. Introduction to family psychotherapy as an outgrowth of the theory. Students examine their own families of origin.

MFAM 555. Narrative Family Therapy. 2 Units.

Narrative therapy and social construction as important developments in social theory and in clinical practice. Uses narratives and the role they play in a person's life through language and meaning systems. Examines issues of power, collaboration, culture, community, and re-authoring narratives, particularly in the works of Michael White and David Epston.

MFAM 556. Psychopathology and Diagnostic Procedures. 3 Units.

Explores the history and development of psychopathology and how it relates to current clinical practice in general and marriage and family therapy in particular. Utilizes the multiaxial classifications of the DSM-IV as a practical basis for diagnostics.
Prerequisite: A course in abnormal psychology.

MFAM 559. Cognitive-Behavioral Couples Therapy. 2,3 Units.

Experiential course that surveys major cognitive-behavioral family therapy therapists, and integrates treatment techniques into practice in laboratory.

MFAM 564. Family Therapy: Advanced Foundational Theories and Practice. 3 Units.

Comprehensively surveys more recent therapy models, such as narrative, collaborative language systems, and solution-focused theory. Using these models, student learns to assess and consider diagnosis; as well as learn the role of language, meaning, and process in relationships. Class examines the theoretical strengths and limitations of these models in relation to culturally diverse populations.

MFAM 567. Treating the Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill and the Recovery Process. 3 Units.

Identification, treatment, and referral procedures for consumers identified as severely mentally ill. Examines the phenomenon as it relates to a diverse consumer population (culture, age, gender, and SES). Treatment section focuses on the recovery process and on evidence-based or agreed-upon approaches in the mental health field, particularly the marriage and family therapy field. Includes principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment planning, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior.

MFAM 568. Groups: Process and Practice. 3 Units.

Surveys major theoretical approaches, including individual theories, marital groups, network, and family therapy groups. Group laboratory experience provided wherein students apply theory to practice and develop group leadership skills.

MFAM 584. Advanced Child and Adolescent Development. 3 Units.

Psychodynamics involved in child and adolescent problems with respect to the family relationship. Demonstrates a variety of counseling approaches to the treatment of children and adolescents, with emphasis on diverse settings (e.g., education, hospital, and agency).

MFAM 585. Internship in Family Mediation. 1-4 Units.

Internship includes 50 hours of observation in the court room, 100 client-contact hours of mediation experience, twenty cases of mediation experience, and six mediation case studies.

MFAM 604. Social Context in Clinical Practice: Gender, Class, and Race. 3 Units.

Introduces social inequalities that result in unfairness, health disparities, assaults to personal dignity, and family stress. Focuses on how one's position within social hierarchies—such as gender, socioeconomic status, race, and sexual orientation—affects psychological and relational health. Students learn how family therapists and counselors address these social contextual factors as part of a recovery-based approach that empowers people within their relationships and social systems. Cross-listing: COUN 604.

MFAM 605. Gestalt Family Therapy. 2 Units.

Principles of Gestalt psychology and therapy; the relationship between the individual and the physical, emotional, societal, and spiritual environment. Group experience that permits the spiritual and affective aspects of Gestalt therapy to be expressed and integrated with systems theory.

MFAM 606. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. 2 Units.

Students examine the theory of emotionally focused therapy and concentrate on the work and research of Susan Johnson.

MFAM 614. Law and Ethics. 3 Units.

Examines laws pertaining to the family: child welfare, separation, divorce, and financial aspects of family maintenance. Case management, referral procedures, professional and client interaction, ethical practices (AAMFT, ACA, BBS), ethical relations with other professions, legal responsibilities, abilities, and confidentially. Current legal patterns and trends in the mental health profession. Exploration between the practitioner's sense of self and human values and his/her professional behavior, scope of practice, and ethics. Course assists students to examine how culture, SES, poverty, social stress, and biology impact consumer's recovery process.

MFAM 615. Reflective Practice. 2 Units.

Develops narrative-therapy ideas and emphasizes a reflective process in both therapy and research. Focuses on developing the student's skills as an active agent in therapy and research.
Prerequisite: MFAM 555.

MFAM 624. Individual and Systems Assessment. 3 Units.

Applies psychological testing methods in the diagnostic assessment of individual, family, and group behavioral dynamics as encountered in marriage and family counseling. Observations and/or laboratory experience.

MFAM 635. Case Presentation and Legal Issues. 3 Units.

A clinically oriented course in which students prepare brief and focused oral and/or video presentations of individual, marital, or family cases with which they are currently working at their clinical placements that demonstrate an understanding of systems theory; as well as of legal, ethical, cultural, SES, spiritual, and developmental issues. Students discuss how cases support consumer advocacy.

MFAM 636. Case Presentation and Client-Centered Advocacy. 3 Units.

Examines the recovery process in relation to case write-ups. Ongoing individual, marital, and family cases formally presented by trainees discussing how consumer advocacy is supported; as well as collaboration with other mental health practitioners. Requires an in-depth case write-up on a couple or family that demonstrates an understanding of legal, ethical, cultural, SES, spiritual, client-centered advocacy, recovery model, disability act and services, and developmental issues.

MFAM 637. Case Presentation and Global Practices. 3 Units.

Students receive case supervision and prepare for a final oral comprehensive examination that requires four videotaped segments of the case over a minimum of six sessions or six hours, depending upon the clinic site; a write-up of the case; an epistemology paper; and a vignette.

MFAM 638. Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse. 3 Units.

Examines current theories of etiology of substance use disorders and the effects of psychoactive drug use. Emphasizes assessment and evaluation strategies; impact on mental, biological, relational, and community systems; evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches within a recovery process orientation. Explores issues of regional multicultural competence, human diversity, and access to care.

MFAM 644. Child Abuse and Family Violence. 3 Units.

Definition and incidence of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sexual molestation, dynamics of family violence; offender and nonoffender characteristics. Treatment of children, adolescents, the family and adults abused as children. Treatment modalities, including individual, group, and family therapy. Ethical and legal issues, community resources, multidisciplinary approach to child abuse, assessment, interview techniques, and confidentiality. Examines how cultural, SES, poverty and/or social stress impacts a family's mental health and recovery. Minimum of thirty contact hours. Cross-listing: COUN 644.

MFAM 645. Advanced Substance Abuse-Treatment Strategies. 3 Units.

Presents information about addictions treatment for adults, adolescents, families, groups, and those with multiple diagnoses.
Prerequisite: MFAM 638.

MFAM 665. Structural and Multidimensional Family Therapy. 2 Units.

Enhances observational, conceptual, planning, and intervention skills. Increases ability to understand verbal and nonverbal communication and evidence-based family therapies. Broadens understanding of structural and multidimensional family therapy.

MFAM 670. Seminar in Sex Therapy. 2 Units.

Discusses major male and female sexual dysfunctions. Therapeutic processes of treatment.
Prerequisite: MFAM 674.

MFAM 674. Human Sexual Behavior. 3 Units.

Sexuality in contemporary society from the sociopsychological viewpoint. Anatomy and physiology of human sexuality: reproduction, normal and abnormal sexual response, psychosexual development, human fertility, human sexual dysfunction. Integration of systems theory. A minimum of thirty contact hours.

MFAM 694. Directed Study: Marriage and Family. 1-4 Units.

Individual study in areas of special interest concerning the family and its problems. May be repeated for credit at the discretion of the faculty.

MFAM 695. Research Problems: Marriage and Family. 1-4 Units.

Directed research in the student's special field of interest in the family.
Prerequisite: MFAM 501; or concurrent registration with consent of the coordinator.

MFAM 731. Clinical Training. 6 Units.

For MFT students beginning their clinical training. An IP grade will be assigned until student completes 200 hours at an approved site.

MFAM 732. Clinical Training. 9 Units.

For students who have completed MFAM 731 and are at an approved clinical site. Students register for 9 units and receive an IP grade until 500 hours or five consecutive quarters have been completed.

MFAM 734. Professional Clinical Training. 1.5,3 Unit.

Supervised clinical counseling of individuals, couples, families, and children. At least one hour of individual supervision per week and two hours of case presentation seminar per week. Continuous registration for this portion of the clinical training until completion of at least fifty clock hours.

MFAM 734A. Professional Clinical Training. 1.5-6 Units.

Supervised clinical counseling of individuals, couples, families, and children. At least one hour of individual supervision per week and two hours of case-presentation seminar per week. Continuous registration for this portion of the clinical training until completion of at least 300 clock hours.

MFAM 744. Clinical Internship. 1 Unit.

Supervised clinical counseling of individuals, couples, families, and children. One hour of individual supervision per week. Postgraduates only. Approved by internship coordinator.