Former student now works as a licensed chemical dependency counselor.
By Lionel Ramos
The human services program along with volunteer help from the Human Services Club sponsored a meeting for the San Antonio chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals Oct. 15 in the nursing and allied health complex.
With an attendance of about 30 people, the meeting allowed students to learn about current topics in the field and network with professionals.
“That’s the main thing, for students to be here and get their practicum, internship, to get their job,” Roy Perez, president of the Human Services Club, said.
The human services program trains students for licensure as chemical dependency counselors through two years of coursework and a practicum, followed by a 4,000-hour paid internship.
Laurie Eccleston, program director for Management and Training Corp., talked about the effectiveness of therapeutic communities in the criminal justice setting.
In-prison therapeutic communities, like the one at the Joe Ney State Jail in Hondo, are minimum security prisons that allow inmates who are eligible for parole and have a history of substance abuse to receive treatment and counseling for six to nine months before being released on parole.
“We have a heavy emphasis on cognitive behavioral modification, a lot of life skills education, a lot of awareness training,” Eccleston said.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy really works,” she said. “Texas is very good about trying to do a lot of treatment within the criminal justice setting … they’re very cutting edge.”
Christopher Lopez, former president of the Human Services Club, recalled his experience in the human services program during a phone interview Oct. 18.
“It was great,” he said, relieved that he just finished his internship hours.
Lopez is now a community outreach counselor and certified anger resolution therapist for New Season San Antonio Treatment Center and New Season Northwest San Antonio Treatment Center.
He also works to spread drug and alcohol awareness to break the stigma of medication-assisted treatment.
“Everyone knows someone with a drug or alcohol problem,” he said, explaining that typically, instead of seeking help, people sweep their problems “under the rug.”
“The human services program is the only program in Texas accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission, NASACA,” Lopez said.
It also is the only academic program in San Antonio at an accredited college that meets the state’s educational requirements for licensure, according to the program’s website.
For more information regarding the human services program, contact Coordinator Suzanne Davis-Thomas at 210-486-1260 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the club, call Perez at 210-489-9394.