[Noozhawk’s note: This article is part of Day 12 in Noozhawk’s 12-day, six-week special investigative series, Prescription for Abuse. Related links are below.]
Antioch University Santa Barbara has long been committed to understanding addiction and developing methods to effectively treat it.
“Antioch is interested in the topic of addiction because it is an issue that impacts our community in many ways,” explained Kristine Schwarz, Antioch Santa Barbara’s associate director of institutional advancement and herself an alumnus of the school.
Three programs prove the point.
The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and a bachelor’s degree that was first offered in 1977 are training programs that emphasize applied psychology and prepare Antioch students to be licensed as marriage and family therapists, Schwarz said.
Through the master’s program, students volunteer a collective 65,000 hours annually at regional community service agencies that focus on treating addictions, Schwarz said. These locations vary from the Cottage Residential Center to UCSB’s Alcohol & Drug Program.
“Our primary goal is to prepare competent psychotherapists who can provide therapeutic services in the local community and to the larger society,” Schwarz said.
“To meet this goal the program emphasizes the academic, practical and personal knowledge that will enable each graduate to become competent in diagnosis, treatment planning and psychological interventions with individuals, couples and families.”
Meanwhile, the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, which began in 2005, concentrates on family psychology and emphasizes family forensic psychology, Schwarz said.
Students who graduate in this program can be licensed as clinical psychologists as a result of institutional contracts for practicum with about 50 clinical sites. Some of these sites have addiction treatment centers, including Aegis Medical Systems, which operates a network of outpatient narcotic treatment programs for heroin and other drug dependencies, and Aurora Vista del Mar Hospital’s Psychiatric Dual Diagnosis Unit in Ventura.
The final program, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a concentration in applied psychology, addresses concepts of values and biases in psychological theory and “the historical, societal and political context of psychological theories and practices,” Schwarz said.
Through this program, students are required to obtain field experience, internships, and practice and independent study, including work with addiction treatment.
As a result of Antioch’s many programs, Schwarz said she believes the school produces “exceptional, passionate, dedicated clinicians.”
Antioch University Santa Barbara has an alumni community of 4,000, many of whom live locally.
“Our alumni are among the most prominent specialists working in the local addiction community, and can be found at essentially all of the area’s addiction treatment providers,” Schwarz said.
Alumni put their education and experience to use by working all over the South Coast at facilities such as the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital COPE and Acute Detox Program, Full Spectrum Recovery, Recovery Road Medical Center and Vista del Mar Hospital.
“(Addiction affects) many vulnerable populations within our community, such as teens and young adults, the elderly, the homeless population, veterans and individuals suffering from chronic pain,” Schwarz said.
“We feel it is our responsibility (to educate) our students and the community about the prevention of substance abuse, addiction risk factors, and the resources and research-based addiction treatment options available today.”
Antioch recently moved its campus to Anacota Plaza on the corner of Anacapa and Cota streets. The increased visibility is emblematic of the role Antioch believes it plays in the community.
“I hope that through our efforts we can educate our students and community members about addiction, and provide them with crucial information and resources as they manage addiction in their lives,” Schwarz said.