Addiction Psychology and Counselling MSc
The MSc is a well-established route to a professional career in counselling in the addictions field. Accredited by the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) 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 seeking a career in counselling, you’ll have particular interest in this programme. Some work experience in health, community and social services settings is normally required, and it is 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.
This course distinctively:
- explores the psychological basis of generic and counselling strategies
- equips you to assess psychological models of counselling approaches;
- 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.
The role of social identity in addiction treatment
LSBU researchers investigating the role of identity in addiction treatment have developed a model that can help to predict treatment outcomes.
Reginald David Johnston, MSc Addiction Psychology Counselling, scholarship recipient
Reginald Johnston was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s scholarship to help him pursue the MSc Addiction Psychology & Counselling programme at LSBU.
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.
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).
You’ll examine the main concepts and debates in counselling, from bothhistorical and current perspectives, and the different approaches required inrelation to gender, culture, age, and history of trauma will be considered.You’ll consider the impact of group processes on our theoretical and practicalunderstanding of the counselling relationship systematically, and of the skillsrequired in achieving our counselling goals. You’ll be provided with a contextin which you can experience for yourself the process of coming together as agroup, and also, with a different facilitator, practice the skills required inleading a therapy group.
- Advanced addiction psychology
This module develops the Addiction Psychology teaching established in Year 1, but to an advanced level. You’ll engage in creative dialogue with addiction psychology researchers in the context of your own explorations in planning research, and in exploration with your teachers of the clinical applications of research findings. The two themes are linked by a common emphasis on the development of novel, theory- and evidenced- based procedures for prevention and treatment of addictive disorders.
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.
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 respond to those questions.
- 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.
There is a rapidly increasing demand for addiction counsellors in health and social services and a variety of community settings. Students may apply to the Alcohol Research (UK) for financial support to cover the cost of fees. Employers are also frequently prepared to give financial support to those counsellors, nurses, social and community workers and others whose employment involves working with those who are experiencing problems associated with addiction.
LSBU Employability Services
LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:
- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes.
The PgDip Addiction Psychology and Counselling meets the required training component for professional accreditation by the FDAP.
Recent guest lecturers include:
- Professor Stephen Sutton, University of Cambridge;
- Professor Robin Davidson, Chairman of the Alcohol Education and Research Council.
The Federation of Drug Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) is the professional body for the substance use field and works to help improve standards of practice across the sector.