COUN5801 Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselling

Graduate Diploma Level Unit

Duration: One Trimester

Level: 2nd year

Credit points: 8 (out of a total of 96 points)

Prerequisites: COUN5131 Counselling Practice and COUN5141 Counselling Theories

Mode(s) of Delivery: Blended Online

Core/Elective: Elective

Unit Description

This unit introduces a framework for counselling in the areas of substance use, abuse and dependency. It provides:

  • An overview of the theories and concepts of counselling in the area of substance use, abuse and dependency
  • Knowledge of National Drug Strategies, including those related to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Peoples, and sociological aspects of substance abuse, such as social exclusion
  • Identification of the physiological and psychological aspects of substance abuse
  • Health promotion principles for preventing substance use and abuse
  • An outline and comparison of major approaches to the treatment of substance abuse and their evidence base
  • Principles for working with voluntary and non voluntary clients
  • Knowledge of best practice interventions for working with families affected by substance abuse
  • Guidelines for working with clients with dual diagnoses, for example, a mental illness combined with substance abuse
  • Understanding of the specific impacts of alcohol and other drugs on Indigenous and culturally, linguistically and diverse (CALD) communities
  • Boundaries and self care for counsellors working with clients in alcohol and other drugs counselling services

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand and apply the concepts of substance use, abuse and dependency to case studies
  • Identify and apply the major treatment options available in the field according to their evidence base
  • Match treatment options to individual needs
  • Develop and demonstrate specific assessment and referral skills for counselling clients effectively who present with substance use, abuse and dependency issues
  • Develop and apply effective strategies for relapse prevention
  • Analyse interactions between individual drug use and the social context
  • Identify and apply the major treatment options available in the field according to their evidence base
  • Match treatment options to individual needs
  • Analyse the impacts on families of substance use, abuse and dependency
  • Identify special needs groups and clients, including ATSI and CALD communities and develop evidence based interventions to meet their needs.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 12 hours per week.


The required text book for this unit  can be found by viewing the Discipline of Counselling textbook list by selecting the course and trimester at the following link:

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. This includes plagiarism of any nature. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand what constitutes plagiarism in order to ensure that you do not engage in it. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


Unit information may be subject to change prior to the teaching trimester commencing.  Once term has commenced please review the Unit Outline in your class space to ensure your trimester study plan is correct.