Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
AD 201
Course Title:
Families and Addiction
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

A comprehensive survey of all topics related to family work, from intervention to recovery, covering the scope of family work with a special population of families impacted by addiction, whether current or intergenerational. Covers the initial contact with a family, defining and describing all of the possible dynamics, needs and interventions defined in current literature. Prerequisites: AD 101. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

1. Articulate explanations of the etiologies of addiction (including disease concepts, physiological theories and psychological theories) to family clients who lack knowledge of addiction.

2. Understand several theories of psychotherapy which are commonly used, including 12 step approaches. Understand the general and specific techniques and approaches to use with "alcoholic (addicted) families", including working with related problems such as abuse, sexual dysfunction, divorce and separation.

3. Assess an €œaddicted family€ for physiological, sociological and psychological influences, and identify familial needs.

4. Know their personal family history and identify those areas that can result in boundary and counter transference issues.

5. Understand the needs of children in €œaddicted families€ and how to assist children of addicted parents and other caregivers.

6. Understand prevention and intervention techniques and how they can be applied in familial situations.

7. Understand systems theory and the interdependence of all aspects of family treatment, including the view from the larger context such as community support.

8. Evidenced Based Practices will be included as available

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The students need to demonstrate through interaction in a small group
that they have developed a method for articulating their knowledge.  Be
able to pass an examination in these areas.
2.  The students will be observed in small classroom groups as students
articulate and practice various techniques and understanding of theories
and concepts.  A report on attendance on 12 step meetings will be
submitted.  Be able to pass an examination in these areas.
3.  The students need to prepare a genogram of their family history that may
include some of the issues in the competencies and skill area.  An
autobiography will be written utilizing the material from the genogram and
questionnaire.  Evaluation by instructor will determine proficiency.
A demonstration of proficiency will occur in small group activity for
assessing for abuse issues, such as physical neglect or abuse, sexual
abuse, social and interpersonal difficulties, emotional reactivity, and
acting-out behaviors in children.
The students need to demonstrate proficiency by practicing diagnosis in
small groups utilizing role-play with case studies.  Observation will be
the assessment tool.  Students need to be able to pass an examination in
these areas.
4.  The students need to demonstrate their understanding of family work in
small groups, practicing attending and joining skills.  They will be
examined in written form on the systems concepts of homeostasis, roles and
rules, subsystems, triangulation, boundaries, values, alliances,
coalitions, and symptoms.  Be able to pass an examination in these areas.
5.  The students need to share their findings in small group activities and
articulate their findings regarding possible boundary and
countertransference issues.  The students will be evaluated by written
6.  The assessments will consist of role play using case studies and peer
evaluation, peer observation in small group work and written work evaluated
by the instructor, review of a structured learning journal, by written
examination, and through discussion and questioning.
Themes, Concepts, Issues:
1.  The overreaching affects of psychoactive substance use and misuse on the
individual and the family.
2.  Psychotherapy for families, including couples and children dealing with
the effects of psychoactive substance abuse and dependence.  Children of
alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics need special attention.
    a.  Family assessment and diagnosis for the effects of substance misuse and
    b.  Observations by family therapists, reports from the family, and
        assessment of the family structure are the data utilized for diagnosis.
3.  The family as the client is an important concept in family work.
4.  Family of Origin and family history is vital to understanding the family
5.  Children of alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics have special
needs for which they need help identifying and resolving.
6.  Spouses and/or partners of addicts have unique issues and need special
7.  Certain techniques and theoretical constructs are germane to family
therapy.  Finding the most effective techniques is essential.
8.  Reading the research and literature is an effective way to learn about
family theory and therapy.  Comparative studies are helpful.  Intervention
and prevention are strong tools and themes and more funding is becoming
9.  Systems thinking, systems science, interdependence and context are
important concepts that require mastery.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The students need to utilize their learning from AD 101 and AD 102
    and be able to articulate their knowledge in non-scientific, user
    friendly language, utilizing their learning from "speech class".
2.  The students need to learn and become familiar with the theories and
    techniques utilized in general family therapy and specific techniques
    for "alcoholic" (addicted) families".  Among them are systems
    approaches, marital therapy, 12 step concepts, structural, strategic,
    inter-generational, experiential, behavioral, stage model, multi-family
    groups and others.
3.  a.  The students need to learn about various tools and techniques for
        assessing and diagnosing family issues unique to each family.
    b.  The students need to learn to rely on theirs' and others'
        observations of the family for finding the symptoms.  Among
        them are alcoholism (addiction) evident in either family of
        origin, children protecting parents, role reversals, denial and
        isolation patterns, report of physical or sexual abuse and
        incest, obvious scapegoating, fears of teen alcohol/drug misuse,
        and others.
4.  The students need to learn attendance and joining skills with families.
    They need to learn what symptoms are important to look for and
    understand the principles of systems theory.  They need to learn
    family therapy terminology.
5.  The students need to prepare a genogram of their family of origin and
    complete a questionnaire about their family history.
6.  The students need to learn the signs and symptoms of COAs and ACOAs
    and become skilled in assisting these special clients.
7.  The students need to learn the special needs of couples and how to
    work with these clients in a therapeutic setting.  Identifying and
    separating symptoms independent of the addict that require therapy
    is a major task.  Special skills for attending and objectivity need
    to be learned.
8.  The students need to learn various techniques from a variety of
    sources and practice them in a learning environment.  Learn to
    research the treatment methods and find those most compatible
    with the student's style.
9.  The students will learn to identify, locate, and access various forms
    of information related to family therapy and family functioning.
10. The students need to learn the new concepts of primary, secondary,
    and tertiary prevention tools and how important is the family role
    in these activities.
11. The students need to learn how to think and act systemically by
    reading and discussing these concepts and applying them to family