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Co-Occurring Disorders: Individual and Systemic Planning

Course Code: CODS 5200
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Department: Co-Occurring Disorders
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

Students will review the etiology and nature of co-occurring disorders and discuss advanced issues that result from the co-morbid conditions of mental illness and substance use and identify system intervention and support strategies for this population. The students will have an opportunity to adapt this knowledge to their own practice and acquire a broader understanding of its application to community social services.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Recognition of cultural worldview is essential for working in an increasingly multicultural community.  Treatment and support services need to have a multi-cultural response.
  • Engagement and continuation of treatment and support for persons who have a co-occurring illness is difficult, therefore it is essential to utilize a team and multi-professional approach.
  • Personal wellness is an essential component of working with clients who have a co-occurring disorder.
  • A detailed understanding of the needs of this chronically ill population is critical to successful treatment and to prevention of relapse.  Basic needs such as housing, food, financial support and employment are constantly a struggle.   Access to adequate, acceptable and timely treatment is often problematic.
  • Treatment and support for persons with a co-occurring illness is most often a combination of formal health interventions and community based living support.
  • Successful intervention is most often long term and intensive at least in the initial stages.
  • Many people with these disorders are not in treatment but receive other services (non mental health and addiction) from the service system.
  • Best practice interventions identify a responsive integrated service as being the most successful approach to service provision.
  • Often our current systems of support and intervention do not meet the threshold for best practice resulting in the need for more interagency cooperation to achieve positive outcomes.
  • There is a correlation between early life trauma and the development of a co-occurring disorder.

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Group work
  • Student presentations
  • Guest speakers
  • Audio-visual presentation

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. Typical means of evaluation would include a combination of:

  • Written assignments
  • Group presentations
  • Exams
  • Class participation
  • Case study review

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate skills and techniques for working effectively with people who have co-occurring disorders from a multi-cultural approach including:
    • Identify cultural specific differences in approaches to support, treatment, and relapse prevention
    • Describe the influence and use of cultural/aboriginal modes of treatment
  2. Understand and describe the importance and use of pharmacological treatment and its potential interaction with illegal drugs
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the skills necessary for working with clients across the lifespan.
    • Describe lifespan development including normal developmental milestones
    • Demonstrate skills for assessing deviance from normal lifespan development
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of one’s role and the role of other professionals in an integrated approach to treatment and support and be able to work as part of an inter-disciplinary team to support this population
  5. Articulate best practice approaches for co-occurring clients
    • Demonstrate ability to access, understand and describe evidence-based best practice research
    • Demonstrate ability to work as part of a team or as a services representative in the development of best practice approaches
  6. Develop a personal wellness plan when working with co-occurring clients
  7. Understand the impact of biological/genetic factors and early life trauma and the co-occurrence of mental illness and substance misuse.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.