Course at a glance


Addiction Counselling is a fast-growing and popular counselling service. This course provides you an opportunity to gain a qualification that will enhance your career and counselling practice. This Level 3 Short Course Diploma Course will be of particular interest to those working in healthcare professions. It will also be relevant to people in social work areas, teachers and those involved in pastoral work.

This course focuses on the assessment and analysis of psychosocial factors associated with addiction, together with the appreciation of how addictive behavioural problems present challenges for the counsellor or helper. The course will specifically address substance and alcohol addiction, although the theories, concepts and working models can be applied to most addictive behaviours and problems.

The course is divided into 10 units of study, you can read a detailed summary of each unit in the ‘Content’ section at the bottom of the page.

To help spread the cost of the course, you can opt to spread the course fees over an interest and credit check free instalment plan. To do this, select the option for instalment payment from the drop-down box above the ‘Enrol’ button.

Addiction Counselling Short Course Diploma Entry Requirements

All students must be 16 years of age and above to enter into our Addiction Counselling Short Course Diploma (Level 3).

Short Course Diploma courses require a minimum prior learning to GCSE standard in order that students can manage their studies and the assumed knowledge within course content.

Study Hours

200 hours in total. Or 20 hours per week over 10 weeks.


Written assessment at the end of each unit of study.


Please note that you can enrol on this course at anytime.

Addiction Counselling Short Course Diploma Course Content

Unit 1: Introduction to addiction, discussion and reappraisal of counselling skills

This module explores the subject of addiction in broad terms. It summarises basic 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. Corresponding counselling approaches and the evolution of modern approaches are also examined.

Unit 2: The psychodynamic approach relevant addiction therapy

In this module, students will examine the psychodynamic approach to counselling, learning how to identify counselling situations in which this approach may be suitable. 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.

Unit 3: The cognitive behavioural approach relevant to addiction therapy

This module explores the popular cognitive behavioural approach and how it can be applied to the addiction counselling field. The student will gain insight into the depth of behavioural change in this area of therapy. Specific examples and activities will give the student indications as to which particular set of client circumstances benefits most from this approach.

Unit 4: The person-centred approach relevant to addiction therapy

This module examines the key concepts of the person-centred approach to counselling. These include 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.

Unit 5: Client-counsellor relationships in addiction therapy

This module addresses ethical strategy, boundaries or limitations and will reinforce recognition of active listening, empathy and unconditional positive regard. The integration of approaches to suit client needs are described, as group dynamics.

Unit 6: Understanding addiction: part 1

This module focuses on the physiological and psychological changes and effects of addiction. Students will gain understanding of reinforcement in addictive behaviour, and of the basic action of drugs and their effects. This includes knowledge of the central nervous system in relation to addiction.

Unit 7: Understanding addiction: part 2

This module continues with the physiological and psychological themes that have been already discussed. The categorisation and classification of commonly taken drugs are described. Students will learn about the common psychological disorders that relate to causes and effects of addiction. Models of counselling are explained in their context with addiction.

Unit 8: Focusing on substance addiction

This module defines and categorizes the most commonly use drugs that exist in society today, and the factors 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.

Unit 9: Focusing on alcohol addiction

This module examines the factors that contribute to alcohol abuse and the physiology behind alcohol addiction. It explores the growing issue of alcohol usage, its effects on both the clients and those around them, including their families, colleagues and friends. Students will gain knowledge of specialised counselling skills.

Unit 10: Discussion on other addictions such as smoking, food and shopping

This module provides information about other more common addictions. Students will gain understanding of the factors that contribute to addictions that including smoking, shopping, gambling, food and sex. Comparisons will be drawn between various addictive behaviours that have been examined throughout this course, and the complexity of some addictions will be addressed, including multiple addictions, or serious contributing and underlying problems. The student will gain confidence in drawing up appropriate counselling programmes that present in the therapeutic environment.


This Addiction Counselling Short Course Diploma course can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.

You can find further information on our Level 4 Diplomas here: