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University adds neuropsychological component to counseling curriculum

April 26, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Counseling students at Indiana Wesleyan University are excited about an opportunity to “don white lab coats,” as Don Osborn, PhD, characterizes it, as the school's acquisition of $30,000 in equipment will expose the students to a more detailed look at the recovering brain.

A grant allowed the university to purchase neurofeedback equipment and to plan to add a neuropsychological component to its academic program. Osborn, director of the university's Addiction Studies Center, tells Addiction Professional that plans are in the works to add a course on the psycho-neurology of addictions into the graduate addictions counseling program. He says some of the applications ultimately could allow new clinicians to obtain certification in neuro-counseling.

“We'd like the students to see what they can do to put the water on the fire of brain activity,” Osborn says.

He foresees the possibility that the neurofeedback technology, based on observing the brain's electrical activity and sharing that information with patients, could allow students to see how persons in early recovery activate parts of their brain when they discuss triggers to relapse, for example.

The equipment will be used primarily for students in addictions and clinical mental health, Osborn says. All graduate students in addiction counseling will receive training in neurofeedback, a self-directed application that has gained wider acceptance as an evidence-based adjunct to treatment.

Osborn says part of this summer will be spent learning about how to use the equipment and what its potential is for expanding the curriculum. “The equipment is something that we all have to be trained on,” he says.