Training advances skills in addiction-care

04 April 2011 | Story by Newsroom

LecturersNew offering: The Department of Psychiatric and Mental Health will launch a part-time postgraduate diploma in advanced addictions care. Those who have been instrumental in the development include (from left) Dr Don Wilson, Sharon Kleintjes and Assoc Prof Brownwyn Myers.

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

The 24-month course is starting in April, and is open to professionals working in the substance abuse field, such as general practitioners, social workers, psychiatric nurses, nurses and psychologists.

One of the challenges of addressing substance abuse and addictive disorders in South Africa is a limited workforce and limited evidence-based training opportunities for training in the field, 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, as well as practical experience of addictions treatment in clinical settings and supervision," Kleintjes explains.

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

The programme will provide 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 effectively 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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