Course at a glance


Addiction has been and will continue to be an issue that becomes problematic and needing psychological support for some. Addiction is the strong and, at times, uncontrollable condition that requires a need to do something to excess such as eat too much, drink alcohol, wash hands and buy on-line goods. It starts of being an activity carried out from enjoyment but can become problematic due to mood swings, uncontrollable urges, temperament changes and more and more of the activity is needed to fulfil an unquenched requirement. It then results in anger, debt, not leaving the home, not remembering what took place and can have wider impact such as affecting close family, colleagues and friends.

Addiction counselling attempts to appraise clients and skill an addict to address their addiction. This course will build on a general understanding of counselling and will define addiction, provide appropriate skills needed to address addiction and develop wider counselling skills to address particular issues. The work of theorists and how the topic has developed to a modern technique widely used to support people needing psychological and counselling help to address addiction is discussed. The course is designed to follow and compliment a basic counselling course, but will then develop and it will specifically address substance and alcohol addiction, although the theories, concepts and working models can be applied to most addictive behaviours and problems.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated Centre for Interactive Education (CIE Global). Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Course Content

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 1: Introduction to addiction, discussion and reappraisal of counselling skills

This module begins by exploring a personal example of addiction and forming a brief description of what it is. It defines, summarises the basic use and function of counselling knowledge and skills. These include how theories and approaches of counselling have developed from the work of Freud, Rogers, Skinner, Ellis, Jung and Egan as well as others. Corresponding counselling approaches and the evolution of modern approaches from these theorists are also examined using self-reflection, self-evaluation activities and accepted counselling methodologies.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 2: The psychodynamic approach relevant addiction therapy

In this module, students will examine the psychodynamic approach to counselling which generally refers to the ‘psyche’ or ‘psycho’’ meaning ‘of the mind.’ Sine Freud’s time there is little to choose between psychotherapy and counselling so we combine them here as the psychodynamic approach. Learning how to identify and analyse counselling situations in which this approach may be suitable will be taught. Concepts such as defence mechanisms, transference and counter-transference will be explained. Students will gain knowledge of the relevance of the psychodynamic approach in the context of addiction therapy so they can be confident in using it in a client-counsellor situation.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 3: The cognitive behavioural approach relevant to addiction therapy

This module explores the popular cognitive behavioural approach, CBT and how it can be applied to the addiction counselling field. Conditioning and social cognitive theories will give an insight into the depth of behavioural change in this area of therapy and any limitations. Specific examples and activities will give indications as to which particular set of client circumstances benefits most from this approach. Understand cognitive techniques and their application and relevance to counselling so that components can be integrated with other approaches.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 4: The person-centred approach relevant to addiction therapy

Humanist psychology involves the belief that there is a role and place for human inspiration in improving mental well-being. This module examines the key concepts about the person-centred approach to counselling and the role of the counsellor e.g. as being empathetic, genuine and warm. The criticism of this is that the counsellor may be indulgent with their clients as a result. The key theories include and describe Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, specific techniques and their relevance and application to counselling. Areas of application where underlying problems and situations are present will be discussed.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 5: Client-counsellor relationships in addiction therapy

This module focuses predominantly on confidentiality, morals and ethics by addressing ethical strategy, boundaries or limitations. It will reinforce conduct through good practice by the recognition of active listening, empathy and unconditional positive regard. The integration of approaches to suit client needs are described as group dynamics. There is a key aim of helping the client increases their self-awareness in order to facilitate a program of change. All communication is done under a safe environment where clients and their Rights e.g. to receive confidential care and be heard are protected.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 6: Understanding addiction: part 1

Addiction is often misused with, e.g. young people suggesting they are addicted to a celebrity, but may not be aware of the addiction to their mobile phone. Thus addiction is defined both in terms of pleasant and unpleasant activities. This module focuses on the physiological and psychological changes and effects of addiction. An understanding of reinforcement in addictive behaviour, and of the basic action of drugs and their effects will be shared. This includes knowledge of the central nervous system in relation to addiction, such as the impact of drugs and chemicals, e.g. Dopamine on the Brain.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 7: Understanding addiction: part 2

This module continues with the physiological and psychological themes such as depression and anxiety that have been already discussed. The categorisation and classification of commonly taken drugs are described. The common psychological disorders that relate to causes and effects of addiction in terms of substance abuse are covered. Models of counselling are explained in their context with addiction, the difficulties associated with dependence, withdrawal, craving and maintaining a drug-free life, e.g. through the support of relaxation techniques.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 8: Focusing on substance addiction

This module defines and categorizes the most commonly use drugs that exist in society today e.g. Cannabis and heroine, and the factors (age, gender, race, familial and socio-cultural background, peer-pressure and depression) that may contribute to substance misuse. In addition it will discuss the effects of these drugs on the person and how behaviours are changed as a result of becoming an addict. The specific and specialised counselling skills necessary for working within this field of therapy will be outlined and discussed. CBT has been recognised as being a valid treatment plan and its use in treating substance abuse will be explored in detail.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 9: Focusing on alcohol addiction

This module examines the factors that contribute to alcohol abuse and the physiology behind alcohol addiction and the harm it can do to the human body. It explores the growing issue of alcohol usage, its effects on both the clients and those around them, including their families, colleagues and friends. Knowledge of specialised counselling skills, such as the use of the Cycle of Change and the 12-step approach are explored. Counselling can be hard and demanding, there may be failure so support for the client and counsellor is addressed as alcohol can have impact such as loss of family, homes and jobs, so the road to recovery is difficult.

Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma Module 10: Discussion on other addictions such as smoking, food and shopping

This module brings together the various aspect of this course by providing information about other more common addictions. An understanding of the factors that contribute to addictions that including smoking, shopping, gambling, food and sex will be addressed. Comparisons will be drawn through the use of statistics, published articles and facts between various addictive behaviours that have already been examined, and the complexity of some addictions will be addressed, including multiple addictions, or serious contributing and underlying problems. A confidence in drawing up appropriate counselling programmes that present in the therapeutic environment is developed by looking at real cases, assessment of causal effects and possible treatment plans.


This Accredited Level 3 Addiction Counselling Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.

You can view a list of our Level 4 Diplomas here: