Key information

Qualification type


Subject areas

Addiction / Substance Abuse: Support / Counselling Psychology (General)

Course type


Course summary

This course explores the psychological basis of generic and counselling strategies, equips students to assess psychological models of counselling approaches, and provides for a supervised professionally-oriented empirical research dissertation in the final (MSc) year; these professional aims are underpinned by a detailed study of the psychology of addiction embracing the main theories of the development of addictive behaviours, the principal approaches to counselling and treatment of addictive disorders, and training in research in the field of addictions.

Different course options

Study mode

Part time


2 years

Start date



Theoretical foundations of addiction and counselling psychology

You will be introduced to psychological theory and research that is essential to our understanding of counselling theory and practice in both generic and addiction counselling. You will explore a range of available research on the causes and treatment of addiction, allowing you to begin to make your own judgments about the suitability of treatment approaches. In addition you will be provided with an account of the principal psychological theories of the person in society that have influenced the development of current counselling practice.

Therapeutic counselling theory and practice

You will examine in detail the principal approaches taken in counselling and psychotherapy in relation to addiction therapy. Four of these have straightforward applications of psychological theory to psychotherapy as follows: Applications of Cognitive Therapy, Motivational Approaches to Addiction Treatment, Mindfulness based Therapies and Group Theory, Structure and Process. Finally, you will look at the Minnesota Method which is associated principally with the practical application of a mutual help social movement for alcoholics and other "addicts" (e.g. AA and NA).

Professional practice in addiction counselling

You will examine the main concepts and debates in counselling, from both historical and current perspectives, and the different approaches required in relation to gender, culture, age, and history of trauma will be considered. You will consider the impact of group processes on our theoretical and practical understanding of the counselling relationship systematically, and of the skills required in achieving our counselling goals. You'll be provided with a context in which you can experience for yourself the process of coming together as a group, and also, with a different facilitator, practice the skills required in leading a therapy group.

Tuition fees

UK fees

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Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees

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Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Typical applicants are working within drug/alcohol or related fields, with the intellectual competence to work at postgraduate level, and demonstrable character strengths for counselling. Desirably, you would have previous training in psychology/counselling and an inclination towards research. Prospective students will need demonstrable ability to undertake work at a Masters level. For example Honours degree or professional qualifications at 2:2 level/Bachelor degree equivalent to UK 2nd Class Honours Lower Division/ Plus relevant experience indicative of a motivation to specialise in the addictions area.

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