MHS in Addictions Studies Counseling Concentration Criteria (60-hours)
A Curriculum Centered on Evidence-Based Research


It’s important not to view counseling strictly from a substance abuse perspective. The Addictions Counseling Concentration is a highly integrated program, exposing you to a wide range of well-established clinical therapies, like Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, among others. By keeping up with the latest trends in clinical counseling, our Addictions Counseling Concentration allows you to choose aspects of these approaches that work, and from there customize a treatment plan for your client.

Our program is a response to all the evidence-based research on clinical practices; we help you translate that research into clinical practice. Our coursework focuses on evidence-based practices, with an emphasis on improving clinical outcomes. We’re preparing you for 21st century practices, as well as additional degreed credentials. And since addiction, like any disease, affects the entire family, you will gain enhanced capabilities of working with family members. Addiction is very often a co-occurring disorder — appearing with clinical depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Addictions Counseling Concentration addresses these issues, as well. We are also broadening and expanding our clinical sites and experiences, so our students have skills far beyond an entry-level counselor.

The Addictions Counseling Concentration (ACC) is a 60-hour master level program that goes beyond substance use counseling. Students interested in this program apply with the internal application the semester they have applied for candidacy (Usually the semester they are taking 8300 Comprehensive Exam).  The 60-hour program is a more intense program, with additional requirements and guidelines for students. Expectations are also different as students are to adhere to additional ethical codes, professional expectations, and professional demeanor. This means that students are observed more frequently in terms of how they handle pressure, stress, hold themselves in challenging situations, and demonstrate respect, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interact with others (including professors and other colleagues.)

The ACC program is designed to assist students to gain broader skills in the area of mental health counseling and integrate substance use counseling. Students are eligible to apply for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) exam, which is the first tier towards independent licensure. When students apply for the LPC and successfully pass the exam, they then work in the field for an additional two years, under the supervision of a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) or other fully licensed professional (LSCW, LP) to be eligible to apply for the LCPC exam. Once students pass this exam, they are licensed as an independent clinician.

The 60-hour program also allows students to apply for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam (CADC). Both Addictions Studies Programs are accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA) and satisfies the academic requirements toward the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) professional credential. These programs also are accredited by theNational Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC).

For more information please contact:

Dr. Serena Wadhwa, Psy.D., LCPC,CADC, RTY, CCTP
Addiction Counseling Concentration Program Director
Phone: 708.534.8950

For more information and to be invited to the next information session, please complete and submit the statement of intent form, as well as download a copy of the ACC Application Checklist below:


MHS in Addiction Studies Counseling Concentration:

Current admission, licensure and job outcome for graduates in MHS in Addiction Studies Counseling Concentration: MHS in Addictions Studies Counseling Concentration Status Report.

You are eligible to apply for this program if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You MUST be a current student in the MHS in Addictions Studies Program
  2. You have achieved candidacy status
  3. You have no grade of "C" or less in any core courses
  4. You have a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher in all completed core courses

Addiction Counseling Mission Statement:

The Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies-Addic­tions Counseling Concentration is designed to meet the increased professional expectations for addictions counselors as detailed in Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA)'s Addiction Counseling Competencies. The intent of the Addictions Counseling Concentration is to expand the profes­sional opportunities of addictions studies graduate majors and to provide the community with specialized addictions counselors who are educated to address the persistent prob­lems of addictions and related issues.

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 20857.MD: Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA).

Addiction Counseling Vision Statement:

The vision of the Addiction Counseling program is to prepare professional addiction counselors to have the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and temperament to provide client-based treatment that is individualized to the needs of the client, evidenced-based, and delivered with respect and compassion. This is accomplished by faculty who use constructivist, developmental, and experiential teaching strategies, and who center their teaching on developing students who are critical thinkers, creative in their clinical interventions, and who value and desire continued professional development.

MHS.ACC. Fact Sheet