Substance Abuse Counseling

Bachelor of Arts

The Substance Abuse Counseling Major equips students entering the addiction recovery field. To be licensed in the field of chemical dependency counseling in Ohio, there are three requirements that must be met.
They include:

  1. Completion of education specific to chemical dependency counseling. The BA degree program meets more than the minimum hours required. Ohio Christian University’s degree program is designed to meet this requirement of chemical dependency counseling education.
  2. Appropriate supervision of chemical dependency counseling while employed in a treatment facility. For many students, this process begins after completion of the degree program.
  3. Successful completion of the licensure test that is administered by the State of Ohio.

Students are eligible to apply to the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals board for Certified Chemical Dependency Assistant status (CDCA) once they have completed 40 clock hours (not semester hours) of chemical dependency training in specific areas.  The CDCA is required to seek entry level employment and to begin supervision required prior to taking the State test for licensure.   (Refer to www://  Click “Licensing” and scroll to “CDCD.”)

Students who live outside of Ohio or plan to relocate to another state, should contact the appropriate state licensure board to learn of requirements unique to that state. The names of the boards can be found online at the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium at

Program Objectives

Students who complete the Substance Abuse Counseling major should be able to:

  1. Integrate Christian principles in critical thinking and decision making.
  2. Demonstrate awareness and improvement of thinking and learning strategies.
  3. Identify the needs of persons using assessment techniques, diagnostic criteria, and treatment planning.
  4. Utilize appropriate counseling techniques with individuals, families, and groups.
  5. Provide chemical dependency specific education to clients, families, groups and the community.
  6. Design and provide aftercare.

120 Semester Credits

  • 36 General Education
  • 36 General Electives
  • 48 Program Requirements

Core Course List

SAC3200 Family Dynamics in Substance Abuse 3 hours 5 weeks

This course explores the impact of chemical dependency and substance abuse upon the family system.  Enabling as a dynamic that reinforces dysfunctional patterns will be examined.  Attention is given to treatment options and interventions for not only the family member with the Substance Use Disorder, but the other family members impacted by their use as well.  Additionally, substance use issues related to adolescents and children will be addressed. These dynamics will be addressed with a Christian and biblical worldview.

SAC3300 Psychopharmacology 3 hours 5 weeks

This course provides background, instruction, and practical understanding of substances with addictive or abusive potential. Current medical guidelines will be evaluated in light of biblical truth to allow for a holistic approach to patient care. The primary emphasis of this course will be on legal and illegal drugs that elicit a pharmacologic effect in the central nervous system. Both pharmacokinetic (e.g., drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) and pharmacodynamics (e.g., psychotropic effects) will be discussed in a practical manner. Drugs will be categorized by common classifications to facilitate learning and retention.


SAC3500 Prevention Strategies 3 hours 5 weeks

This course focuses on the discipline of prevention. It will show the dynamics of prevention and how certain programs are researched and science based. There will be both general and specific introductions to various forms and types of prevention programs and activities.


SAC3600 Diagnostic Evaluation and Personal Assessment 3 hours 5 weeks

This course gives an overview of the counselor functions of screening, intake, orientation, assessment and diagnosis. The processes of interviewing and assessment and related ethical, legal and professional issues will be explored. The course will also examine and practice the use of tests, assessment instruments and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the process of Diagnostic Evaluation and Personal Assessment of a client.

SAC3700 Case Management 3 hours 5 weeks

Best practices are presented for case management common to various human services.  Topics include interviewing skills, documentation, cultural aspects, self-care, and ethical issues.


SAC4200 Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling 3 hours 5 weeks

This course gives an overview of several main group theories, explains and demonstrates techniques associated with those theories and reviews the main theorists associated with each. Students develop skills associated with facilitating group counseling.  Additionally, these areas of study will be addressed within a biblical worldview.

SAC4800 Preparation for the State Test 3 hours 5 weeks

This course is designed to provide a general review of material that you have learned throughout your curriculum at OCU and to familiarize you with the content, construction, and requirements for passing the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professional Board’s State Licensure Examination.

SAC3200 Family Dynamics in Substance Abuse
SAC4200 Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling

PSY3000 Methods of Counseling 3 hours 5 weeks

This course gives an overview of several main concepts, practices and applications of counseling theories while looking at both ethical and professional issues confronting the counselor today. Constructs of how the counselor as a person prepares themselves and integrates theory with Christian and biblical views will be examined. Throughout the course, case examples, DVD case demonstrations, group interaction and related self-study workbook exercises help prepare the students to develop their own personalized counseling style.

PSY3600 Abnormal Psychology 3 hours 5 weeks

This course will explore abnormal behavior as defined by the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Students will analyze ideology and behavioral abnormality, and methods of therapy. Special emphasis will be placed upon cultural and demographic variables impacting mental illness.

PSY4030 Spiritual Dimensions of Illness and Recovery 3 hours 5 weeks

This course explores the dynamics of spirituality and religion that can impact the counseling process. The material on ethical challenges and specific elements of spirituality is presented from a Christian perspective.