UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Todd Lewis offers student counselors a real-world snapshot for treating addiction

Portrait of Dr. Todd LewisDr. Todd Lewis decided on a different approach.

Lewis, an associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Development, wanted to write a textbook that went beyond the current theories of substance abuse counseling.

He also wanted to give students a closer look at the real-world, clinical aspects.

The title of his new text, “Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment: Practical Application of Counseling Theory,” published by Pearson, reflects his aim.

Most textbooks on substance abuse counseling are heavy on addiction-based information, Lewis says, but leave students wondering, “Well what does counseling actually look like in session with someone addicted to substances?” His book, by contrast, is “chock-full of technique, but technique grounded in theory.”

Lewis has used the book in his substance abuse counseling course this fall. To bring the theories to life, he uses a running case study, “Michael,” an amalgam of clients Lewis has worked with in his clinical practice.

He lays out Michael’s case along with popular treatment theories — including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing — and applies each theory to Michael’s case. He brings in numerous other case studies along the way.

To help them build empathy for those addicted to substances, Lewis requires students in his substance abuse counseling course to give up a habit for the semester. It could be something as simple as nail biting or a favorite food.

Full story at UNCG NOW.

By Michelle Hines