Supporting Clients with Addictive Behaviours and Co-Occurring Disorders: A Holistic and Empathic Approach

MHA-681 Addictive Behaviours and Co-Occurring Disorders (36 hours)

Format: Synchronous and Virtual over Zoom Video Conference Platform (see minimum technical requirements)
Cost: $895 + HST

No textbook required. 

Fall 2022

Overview of the Course

The purpose of this course is to provide practitioners, both beginning and experienced, with a range of integrated learning opportunities, offering knowledge and skills in the field of mental health and addictions reflective of current best practices.

This 36-hour/6-week course (see dates below) examines evidence-informed clinical methods and tools for identifying, assessing, and providing treatment to clients who struggle with addictive behaviours or co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. Successful students will be able to, at a novice level:

a. Describe addictive behaviours and co-occurring disorders, in accordance with DSM-5 criteria
b. Screen and assess addictive behaviours and co-occurring disorders, with an initial focus on alcohol use and common co-morbidities
c. Examine and practice introductory-level counselling skills along the continuum of severity, using a client-centred motivational approach
d. Apply evidence-informed approaches to integrating and coordinating care of clients with addiction problems and co-occurring disorders

Course Description

In this course, a holistic bio-psycho-social plus (BPS+) perspective is taken, drawing on the determinants of health including biological, psycho-social, and cultural factors. Particular emphasis is placed on strengthening skills in the practice of motivational interviewing-based treatment to support clients in a way that is client-driven and empathic. To this end, a case-based approach along the continuum of severity will be applied in the development of practice skills.

Dates and time for Fall 2022:

All classes are held from 9am – 1pm ET, followed by a minimum of two additional hours of independent (asynchronous) learning, as directed. 

MHA-681 (F22) - 6 Friday sessions, 9am-1pm
  • Sep 16
  • Sep 23
  • Oct 14
  • Oct 28
  • Nov 11
  • Nov 25

Final paper is due two weeks after the final class.

Eligibility and Completion Requirements

The course is taught by a team of experienced practitioners and researchers and is open to community participants as well as to students in other psychology programs (for Adler MPsy students, this is a 3-credit elective).

Students are required to participate in lectures, labs, and online dialogue groups. A written case analysis using models introduced in the course will be required of each student. Students in Adler’s MPsy program will receive an Elective Certificate in Mental Health and Addictions upon successful course completion; community members and other participants will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful submission and evaluation (pass/fail) of all course materials.

Getting Started

Once payment is processed, students will be enrolled in Adler’s online learning platform (Adlearn) where they will gain access to related course materials as well as information outlining how to access and attend the virtual (synchronous) lectures. All lectures will be conducted virtually via Zoom, and will be recorded and posted to the class page on Adlearn for future reference. Students will be able to access course materials, including lecture recordings, up until one month after the final session.

Please note: registration for this synchronous course closes one week prior to the start of the first session. Unlike our online courses, students must attend each session at the specified date and time (see above). Please plan accordingly.

Minimum Technical Requirements:

  • A working computer, with audio- and video-capabilities. (All students are required to have their webcams and microphones turned on during class-times.)
  • The Zoom video-conferencing application
  • A quiet room free from background interference for the duration of class

Contact Us

Students may contact a representative from our Faculty of Continuing Education at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.