Jul 23, 2024  
2020 - 2021 College Catalog 
2020 - 2021 College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor, AS

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Mission Statement

To prepare students to enter the field of alcohol and drug recovery counseling. The program provides students with a strong general education and a solid foundation in: counseling theories and techniques, ethical practice, knowledge of multicultural aspects of working with clients, and critical thinking skills. Students learn how to provide care and treatment to those suffering from substance use disorders. The DARC program seeks to meet the workforce development needs of addiction treatment providers.

The Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC) program educates and trains individuals who seek State of Connecticut certification, employment, job advancement, and increased effectiveness in the field of addictions counseling.

The DARC curriculum provides a balanced program of general education and addiction-specific courses. The combination of courses will challenge students to develop into critical thinkers capable of approaching problems from a variety of viewpoints. The addiction-specific courses are designed to give students a sound foundation in the theories and the science of addiction studies with a disciplined background in: the biopsychosocial disease process of addiction, environmental and familial risk factors, evidence-based treatment models, public health issues, Recovery Model, the counselor code of ethics, and cultural competency. Throughout the DARC program, students are offered a unique combination of traditional classroom work and experiential learning and practice. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning during a two semester (DAR* 251  and DAR* 252  consecutive) internship*.

Students who complete the DARC courses will have met all current Connecticut Certification Board educational training requirements in preparation for becoming a Certified Addiction Counselor and for State of Connecticut credentialing as a drug and alcohol counselor. In addition to the DARC course work, the state of Connecticut requires students to accrue work hours in the field of addiction counseling in order to be eligible to sit for the certification exam (administered by the Connecticut Certification Board).

Acceptance into the Internship (DAR* 251  and DAR* 252 ) portion of the program is selective and requires a formal application, interview and screening process that is separate from general admission to the College. Completion of DAR* 101 DAR* 111 DAR* 158  and DAR* 212  is required before applying to the Internship. The program courses, DAR* 101 DAR* 111 DAR* 112 DAR* 114 DAR* 117 DAR* 119 DAR* 158 DAR* 212  and DAR* 220  are available to any student who wishes to enroll; however, students are urged to seek guidance from the program coordinator.

*During the Internship year, students are required to carry malpractice liability insurance (the average yearly cost is $15). Students will be billed separately for this coverage and will be asked to pay the premium at the time of registration.

Professional practice for addiction counselors is based on eight practice dimensions, each of which is necessary for effective performance of the counseling role. 

A counselor’s success in carrying out a practice dimension depends on his or her ability to attain the competencies underlying that component. Each competency, in turn, depends on its own set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes. For an addiction counselor to be truly effective, he or she should possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with each competency that are consistent with the counselor’s training and professional responsibilities. (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice. Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 21. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4171. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006) 

The eight practice dimensions are as follows:

  1. Clinical Evaluation
    1. Screening
    2.  Assessment
  2. Treatment Planning
  3.  Referral
  4.  Service Coordination
    1.  Implementing the Treatment Plan
    2. Consulting
    3. Continuing Assessment and Treatment
  5. Counseling
    1.  Individual counseling
    2.  Group counseling
    3.  Counseling Families, Couples, and Significant Others
  6. Client, Family, and Community Education
  7. Documentation
  8. Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

For more information, contact the Program Coordinator, Eileen Russo, at (203) 285-2360 or e-mail erusso@gatewayct.edu.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of all program requirements, graduates should be able to: 

  • Perform the skills of a recovery counselor in a cross-cultural setting as defined by the Eight Practice Dimensions of an Addiction Counselor
  • Practice and apply the code of ethics
  • Successfully complete the certification process demonstrating competency in the theoretical sciences of the recovery field
  • Apply principles of literacy and information technology to enhance the functions of recovery counseling.

Suggested Course Sequence

Total Semester Credits: 15

Total Semester Credits: 15

Third Semester

Total Semester Credits: 15

Fourth Semester

Total Semester Credits: 15-16

Total Program Credits: 60-61

Admission to the Counseling Internship (DAR* 251  & DAR* 252 ) is selective, based on a rigorous admission process after successful completion of the DARC core courses with a “C” or better.

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