• Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling

    • Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling

      The Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling (CMHSAC) is an academic and clinical training certificate program offered as an option in conjunction with the MA in General Psychology.

      The curriculum brings together courses in the treatment of substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors as well as general principles of psychology, providing students with a unique foundation for work in this field.

      The CMHSAC employs a harm reduction orientation, placing the program at the cutting edge of training in the treatment of substance misuse and substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors. The CMHSAC also sponsors workshops, events, and trainings that promote a harm reduction orientation.

      Earning the CMHSAC certificate gives graduates an applied career opportunity that can be pursued on completion of the MA, or carried forward into PhD studies and training. Psychology MA graduates who have completed the CMHSAC will have completed the training and educational requirements to apply for certification as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASAC-T) and may then take the exam and fulfill the supervised practical work requirements to become a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). CASACs are employable as substance abuse counselors at hundreds of treatment sites in New York State.

      Students who enroll in the CMHSAC are eligible to participate in field placements in New York City treatment agencies, receiving practical and applied training in treating substance use disorders. Placements range from 6-12 months, and typically begin in the Fall of their second year in the program. Although direct clinical experience is not required as part of the curriculum for the CMHSAC, it is strongly encouraged.

      For more detailed information, please read below and review the CMHSAC Handbook (PDF). 

      New York State CASAC Requirements

      Upon graduation from the CMHSAC and the MA in General Psychology, students will have met the 350-hour education and training requirements set by New York State's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and will be eligible to apply to New York State for a CASAC-Trainee (CASAC-T) certificate and sit for the CASAC exam. Graduates who pass the CASAC exam and receive their CASAC-T may pursue full CASAC certification by completing the required 2,000 hours of work, which can be done at a variety of OASAS-approved treatment facilities in New York. Read more about obtaining the CASAC-T and the CASAC credential on the OASAS website.

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