COUN2041 Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselling

Bachelor Course Unit


Bachelor of Counselling - 200

Bachelor of Counselling (Coaching) - 200 or 300

Credit points: 6

Prerequisites: None

Unit description

This unit introduces a framework for substance abuse counselling by providing an overview of national policy and counselling approaches in this complex field.  Students develop skills in assessment and referral, intervention planning for a range of client presentations, and relapse prevention. An understanding of the impacts of alcohol and other drug use on families, Indigenous communities and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds will be developed. A comparison of the effectiveness of the major counselling theories, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy, is provided. Principles for working with involuntary clients and clients with concurrent conditions are also presented. Finally, important areas of professional practice for alcohol and other drug counsellors including boundaries and self care are addressed. Throughout this unit, students will be encouraged to reflect on their personal values and attitudes towards substance abuse, which will influence your counselling practice in the field of alcohol and other drugs counselling.   

Learning Outcomes

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

a)      understand and apply the concepts of substance use and abuse to case studies

b)      explain the interactions between individual drug use and the social context

c)      develop specific assessment and referral skills for working effectively with  clients who present with substance use, abuse and dependency issues

d)      identify the major treatment options available in the field and their evidence base

e)      match treatment options to individual client needs

f)       analyse the impacts on families of substance use and abuse

g)      identify special needs groups, communities and clients, including ATSI and CALD communities and develop evidence based interventions to meet their needs

h)      discuss current practice issues for alcohol and other drugs counsellors, including boundaries and self-care

i)        develop strategies for relapse prevention

Unit workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week.

Assignment summary

Please refer to the document available here.


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

Recommended Secondary Textbook

Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing Publications. (2004). Alcohol and other drugs: A handbook for health practitioners. Retrieved from$File/aodgp.pdf

Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy. (2011, February 25). National drug strategy 2010–2015: A framework for action on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Retrieved from$File/nds2015.pdf 

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. Please refer to for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


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.