IUPUC Introduces New Coursework in Addictions into Its Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree Program

October 7, 2018
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With opioid addiction reaching epidemic proportions throughout Indiana, IUPUC has responded by adding three additional substance and behavioral addiction courses to its Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program this fall.

“These classes are in response to an increased community need for clinicians with additional training and experience working with people who have addictions and co-occurring mental health concerns” said Darrin Carr, PhD HSPP, the graduate program’s director. “Addictions was always a part of our curriculum, but we wanted to make this content more explicit and enhance our clinical trainees and graduates’ preparedness in this area.”

The new courses include “Psychopharmacology and Counseling,” which covers legal and illegal substances and behaviors affecting mood, sensation, and thinking; “Alcohol and Drug Counseling,” which reviews the major theories of addiction and compulsive behaviors; and “Counseling Approaches with Addictions,” which encompasses different treatment methods of substance-related and behavioral addictive disorders.

IUPUC Clinical Assistant Professor Stephanie L. Scifres, PhD, HSPP, initiated the efforts to develop and implement the instruction of these courses. Locally born and raised, Dr. Scifres is strongly tied to serving the South-Central Indiana community. She received a BS in Psychology from Purdue University, even completing some of her practicum course work on the IUPUC campus. Dr. Scifres then moved to California to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as a Certificate of Proficiency in Neuropsychological Assessment, with the intention of returning to her local community to offer professional services.

Dr. Scifres has extensive experience working with people in a variety of settings, and through her clinical work noticed changes in local addictions even before it became a topic of national attention. Seeing those changes and the severity of their impact on the community prompted Dr. Scifres’ to advocate for the updated curriculum in the Mental Health Counseling program. “I’m proud of the efforts of IUPUC to enhance the quantity and quality of services available to our community,” said Dr. Scifres.

The new addiction counseling courses are available to both degree seeking and non-degree seeking graduate students. In addition, licensed professionals seeking continuing education credits are also welcome to enroll.

If counselors or clinicians would like more information about these courses or the MA in Mental Health Counseling program, they can contact Hayley Trinkle, MHC Admissions Specialist at 812.348.7210 or mhc@iupuc.edu, or Darrin Carr, PhD HSPP, Program Director at 812.348.7331 or dlcarr@iupuc.edu.

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