The MSc is a well-established route to a professional career in counselling in the addictions field. Accredited by Addiction Professionals (formerly the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals) it meets the training needs for you to become accredited as an addiction counsellor.*
You'll normally have a professional, employment or voluntary work interest in addiction but will not necessarily be a graduate. However, if you have an interest in the psychology of addiction and are seeking a career in counselling, you'll have particular interest in this programme. Some work experience in health, community and social service settings, and/or some background in counselling/psychological helper skills is normally required to join the course. It is also expected that in the first year you'll seek experience in appropriate work settings related to addiction. In the second year, students must have a counselling placement sufficient to provide 100 hours of supervised practice before entering the final year.
*Completion of year 2 of the course results in eligibility for the Addiction Professionals 'Drug and Alcohol Professional Certificate'. Additional practice hours are required to be eligible for the Addiction Professionals National Counsellor Accreditation Certificate.
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. A CPCAB-Accredited Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills (or equivalent) is essential. Level 3 qualifications in counselling skills/studies are highly desirable.
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 Second Class Honours Lower Division/ Plus relevant experience indicative of a motivation to specialise in the addictions area.
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Prepare to start
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Enrolment and Induction
Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. Enrolment consists of two stages: online, and your face-to-face enrolment meeting. The online process is an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to your face-to-face enrolment meeting.
In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.
West, R. (2006) Theory of Addiction. Oxford : Blackwell.
Anthony Moss & Kyle Dyer (2010) Psychology of Addiction. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
All modules are assessed by coursework including essays, observational assessments and reports, professional logs, a case study and project proposals.
Theoretical foundations of addiction and counselling psychology You'll 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'll 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'll 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'll 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'll 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 be taken through a detailed examination of the core components of the counsellor’s responsibilities in undertaking the care of clients, from the first to concluding meetings, whether in a group or individual treatment context. The main concepts and debates in counselling will be examined, from both historical and current perspectives, and the different approaches required in relation to gender, culture, age and similar topics. You will also be offered a context in which you can experience the process of coming together as a group, and practice the skills required in leading a therapy group.
Advanced addiction psychology This module develops the Addiction Psychology teaching established in Year 1, but to an advanced level. Knowledge of addiction psychology is broadened to integrate contemporary psychology (broadly cognitive and social in orientation) with established therapeutic traditions (broadly cognitive behavioural and spiritual self-development). Throughout themes are linked by a common emphasis on the development of novel, theory- and evidenced-based procedures for the understanding of addictive behaviours, and related intervention, prevention and treatment.
Advanced theory and practice in therapeutic counselling You'll engage with experienced addiction counsellors in the context of your own explorations in counselling practice. Your counselling performance will be enhanced in relation to: interaction skills; strategic management of counselling challenges; communication of clinical insight; awareness of professional responsibilities and opportunities; understanding of self as counsellor.
Research methods in professional practice You'll be introduced to statistics and research methods appropriate to the field. For students who are already familiar with basic research methods, this course will build on your existing knowledge and encourage more critical thinking. This module emphasises professional research skills whilst building on your knowledge in addiction psychology and counselling. You'll be asked to formulate your own research questions and consider methods you might use to explore them.
Research project in addiction psychology/therapy Your research project is the final stage of the MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling. It is intended that in the project the elements of knowledge and understanding, skills and professional competences acquired during the successful completion of the modules studied in Years 1 and 2 are brought together in a piece of academic research within the boundaries of any area related to addiction psychology and addiction therapy. Your resulting dissertation makes use of primary sources of information in order to critically analyse and test/examine a derived research question. The project should be based on methodologies explored in the research methods component of Year 2.
At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:
An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.
Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.
There is a rapidly increasing demand for addiction counsellors in health and social services and a variety of community settings, and also in private practice. Employers are often prepared to give financial support for training and other incentives to those counsellors, nurses, social and community workers and others whose employment involves working with those who are experiencing problems associated with addiction.
The PgDip Addiction Psychology and Counselling meets the required training component for professional accreditation by the Addiction Professionals.
Addiction Professionals is the professional body for the substance use field and works to help improve standards of practice across the sector.
Several graduates of the MSc Addiction Psychology and Counselling have used this qualification to become registered members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Teaching and Assessment
As an Applied Sciences student, you will be allocated a named academic tutor during your first three weeks at LSBU. The role of your academic tutor is to be your primary contact for academic and professional development support.
Your academic tutor will support you to get the most of your time at LSBU, providing advice and signposting to other sources of support in the University.
Your academic tutor should be the first person at the university that you speak to if you are having any difficulties that are affecting your work. These could be academic, financial, health-related or another type of problem.
You will have appointments with your academic tutor a minimum of once per semester for 30 minutes throughout your course. This is often supplemented with additional meetings arranged via email as and when students need support. In addition to this Learning Support hours for all teaching staff will be advertised and available for you to book additional time for support related to a specific teaching session.