New training advances skills in addictions care

04 April 2011

(from left) Dr Don Wilson, Sharon Kleintjes and Assoc Prof Bronwyn MyersNew offering: The Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health will launch two new part-time postgraduate diplomas in advanced addictions care. Those who have been instrumental in the development include (from left) Dr Don Wilson, Sharon Kleintjes and Assoc Prof Bronwyn Myers.

The Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health has developed a new part-time postgraduate diploma to provide mental health workers with advanced training in addictions care.

The 24-month course starts this month and is open to registered mental health and health workers such as general practitioners, social workers, psychiatric nurses, nurses and psychologists.

One of challenges in addressing substance abuse and addictive disorders in South Africa is the limited workforce - and limited evidence-based training opportunities, says course convener, Sharon Kleintjes.

"This new qualification will provide graduates with a good grounding in evidence-based care for addictions, exposure to the latest thinking, and practical experience of addictions treatment in clinical settings and supervision."

Students working in clinical settings will be required to apply their new knowledge within their field, under supervision, while those who don't will complete a 10-week placement in a clinical environment prior to graduating.

The programme will arm graduates with knowledge of alcohol and drug epidemiology in South Africa, the ability to conduct comprehensive assessments, and a theoretical understanding of addiction. Participants will also acquire special expertise in the provision of evidence-based behavioural interventions for alcohol and drug dependence, knowledge of how to manage addictive disorders among special populations, as well as skills and knowledge on how to monitor treatment service quality and client outcomes.

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