Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gary H. Bischof

Second Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Hedstrom

Third Advisor

Dr. C. Dennis Simpson


Addiction issues have been and continue to be significant problems affecting the United States. Over the past few decades, substantial scholarly attention has been paid to the lack of addictions training in the counseling profession. The purposes of this mixed-method study were to examine the current status of addiction training among institutions that offer counselor education programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and determine how institutions plan to integrate the addiction-related competencies outlined in the 2009 CACREP standards.

The quantitative data were obtained from a 15-item online survey completed by 74 CACREP liaisons nationwide. The results indicate addiction training is taking place in the majority of CACREP programs. Over 70% of institutions offering CACREP programs are teaching content related to screening, diagnosis, counseling strategies, and prevention. This investigation also determined the perceived importance of addiction-related content areas by counseling program option. Twenty-eight percent of institutions in the sample require a course and 39% infuse the instruction in core courses. Almost 90% of institutions have at least one faculty member with addiction expertise, and 92% of addiction courses offered at these institutions are taught by an instructor with addiction expertise. Moreover, despite the financial downturn in the economy and budget cuts within universities, many institutions have plans to add addiction courses, faculty with expertise, and the new Addiction Counseling program.

The qualitative findings resulted from phone interviews with five counselor educators who are also addictions experts. Five themes emerged from the interviews, including (1) the need for addiction training, (2) significant changes occurring in the field, (3) a critique of the 2009 CACREP standards, (4) best practice versus reality, and (5) further changes needed in the counseling profession. This investigation identified best practices related to (a) implementing the new addictions-related competencies, (b) the specific addictions content that should be taught to trainees, (c) course design, and (d) addictions course instructor qualifications. The qualitative findings are compared to the survey results. Implications for counselor training are offered and recommendations are made for the counselor education profession, as well as the addictions field.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access