CACREP Common Counseling Curriculum Standards

CACREP Common Counseling Curriculum Standards & Addiction Specialty

CACREP provides the most widely used curriculum standards for Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC’s). Below are CACREP’s common counseling curriculum standards which fall under standards area 2.F. CACREP also provide standards for the addiction specialty area which falls under standards area 5.A.

a. history and philosophy of the counseling profession and its specialty areas
b. the multiple professional roles and functions of counselors across specialty areas, and their relationships with human service and integrated behavioral health care systems, including interagency and interorganizational collaboration and consultation
c. counselors’ roles and responsibilities as members of interdisciplinary community outreach and emergency management response teams
d. the role and process of the professional counselor advocating on behalf of the profession
e. advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients
f. professional counseling organizations, including membership benefits, activities, services to members, and current issues
g. professional counseling credentialing, including certification, licensure, and accreditation practices and standards, and the effects of public policy on these issues
h. current labor market information relevant to opportunities for practice within the counseling profession
i. ethical standards of professional counseling organizations and credentialing bodies, and applications of ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling
j. technology’s impact on the counseling profession
k. strategies for personal and professional self-evaluation and implications for practice
l. self-care strategies appropriate to the counselor role
m. the role of counseling supervision in the profession


a. multicultural and pluralistic characteristics within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally
b. theories and models of multicultural counseling, cultural identity development, and social justice and advocacy
c. multicultural counseling competencies
d. the impact of heritage, attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences on an individual’s views of others
e. the effects of power and privilege for counselors and clients
f. help-seeking behaviors of diverse clients
g. the impact of spiritual beliefs on clients’ and counselors’ worldviews
h. strategies for identifying and eliminating barriers, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination

a. theories of individual and family development across the lifespan
b. theories of learning
c. theories of normal and abnormal personality development
d. theories and etiology of addictions and addictive behaviors
e. biological, neurological, and physiological factors that affect human development, functioning, and behavior
f. systemic and environmental factors that affect human development, functioning, and behavior
g. effects of crisis, disasters, and trauma on diverse individuals across the lifespan
h. a general framework for understanding differing abilities and strategies for differentiated interventions
i. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan

a. theories and models of career development, counseling, and decision making
b. approaches for conceptualizing the interrelationships among and between work, mental well-being, relationships, and other life roles and factors
c. processes for identifying and using career, avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information resources, technology, and information systems
d. approaches for assessing the conditions of the work environment on clients’ life experiences
e. strategies for assessing abilities, interests, values, personality and other factors that contribute to career development
f. strategies for career development program planning, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation
g. strategies for advocating for diverse clients’ career and educational development and employment opportunities in a global economy
h. strategies for facilitating client skill development for career, educational, and life work planning and management
i. methods of identifying and using assessment tools and techniques relevant to career planning and decision making
j. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for addressing career development

a. theories and models of counseling
b. a systems approach to conceptualizing clients
c. theories, models, and strategies for understanding and practicing consultation
d. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for establishing and maintaining in-person and technology-assisted relationships
e. the impact of technology on the counseling process
f. counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence the counseling process
g. essential interviewing, counseling, and case conceptualization skills
h. developmentally relevant counseling treatment or intervention plans
i. development of measurable outcomes for clients
j. evidence-based counseling strategies and techniques for prevention and intervention
k. strategies to promote client understanding of and access to a variety of communitybased resources
l. suicide prevention models and strategies
m. crisis intervention, trauma-informed, and community-based strategies, such as Psychological First Aid
n. processes for aiding students in developing a personal model of counseling

a. theoretical foundations of group counseling and group work
b. dynamics associated with group process and development
c. therapeutic factors and how they contribute to group effectiveness
d. characteristics and functions of effective group leaders
e. approaches to group formation, including recruiting, screening, and selecting members
f. types of groups and other considerations that affect conducting groups in varied settings
g. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for designing and facilitating groups
h. direct experiences in which students participate as group members in a small group activity, approved by the program, for a minimum of 10 clock hours over the course of one academic term

a. historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment and testing in counseling
b. methods of effectively preparing for and conducting initial assessment meetings
c. procedures for assessing risk of aggression or danger to others, self-inflicted harm, or suicide
d. procedures for identifying trauma and abuse and for reporting abuse
e. use of assessments for diagnostic and intervention planning purposes
f. basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, and group and individual assessments
g. statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations
h. reliability and validity in the use of assessments
i. use of assessments relevant to academic/educational, career, personal, and social development
j. use of environmental assessments and systematic behavioral observations
k. use of symptom checklists, and personality and psychological testing
l. use of assessment results to diagnose developmental, behavioral, and mental disorders
m. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and test result

a. the importance of research in advancing the counseling profession, including how to critique research to inform counseling practice
b. identification of evidence-based counseling practices
c. needs assessments
d. development of outcome measures for counseling programs
e. evaluation of counseling interventions and programs
f. qualitative, quantitative, and mixed research methods
g. designs used in research and program evaluation
h. statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation
i. analysis and use of data in counseling
j. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation

Students who are preparing to specialize as addiction counselors are expected to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to address a wide range of issues in the context of addiction counseling, treatment, and prevention programs, as well as in a more broad mental health counseling context. Counselor education programs with a specialty area in addiction counseling must document where each of the lettered standards listed below is covered in the curriculum.

a. history and development of addiction counseling
b. theories and models of addiction related to substance use as well as behavioral and process addictions
c. principles and philosophies of addiction-related self-help
d. principles, models, and documentation formats of biopsychosocial case conceptualization and treatment planning
e. neurological, behavioral, psychological, physical, and social effects of psychoactive substances and addictive disorders on the user and significant others
f. psychological tests and assessments specific to addiction counseling

a. roles and settings of addiction counselors
b. potential for addictive and substance use disorders to mimic and/or co-occur with a variety of medical and psychological disorders
c. factors that increase the likelihood for a person, community, or group to be at risk for or resilient to psychoactive substance use disorders
d. regulatory processes and substance abuse policy relative to service delivery opportunities in addiction counseling
e. importance of vocation, family, social networks, and community systems in the addiction treatment and recovery process
f. role of wellness and spirituality in the addiction recovery process
g. culturally and developmentally relevant education programs that raise awareness and support addiction and substance abuse prevention and the recovery process
h. classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications for appropriate medical referral and consultation
i. diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis and the use of current diagnostic classification systems, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
j. cultural factors relevant to addiction and addictive behavior
k. professional organizations, preparation standards, and credentials relevant to the practice of addiction counseling
l. legal and ethical considerations specific to addiction counseling
m. record keeping, third party reimbursement, and other practice and management considerations in addiction counseling

a. screening, assessment, and testing for addiction, including diagnostic interviews, mental status examination, symptom inventories, and psychoeducational and personality assessments
b. assessment of biopsychosocial and spiritual history relevant to addiction
c. assessment for symptoms of psychoactive substance toxicity, intoxication, and withdrawal
d. techniques and interventions related to substance abuse and other addictions
e. strategies for reducing the persisting negative effects of substance use, abuse, dependence, and addictive disorders
f. strategies for helping clients identify the effects of addiction on life problems and the effects of continued harmful use or abuse, and the benefits of a life without addiction
g. evaluating and identifying individualized strategies and treatment modalities relative to clients’ stage of dependence, change, or recovery
h. strategies for interfacing with the legal system and working with court referred clients

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