When being a good listener isn't enough...
learn the skills to become a professional counsellor
Counselling courses

Diploma in Applied Psychology and Counselling- specializing in Addiction Counselling

The specialized Diploma in Addiction Counselling is geared to students, recent graduates, and professional counsellors who wish to include addiction counselling in their scope of practice.

Psychotherapy Trainting

The many roles of an Addiction Counsellor

In addition to the clinical skills demonstrated by professional counsellors, an addiction counsellor is a multi-faceted professional, trained in all aspects of recovery: assessment, treatment, management, and relapse prevention. Counselling is conducted individually and/or in group therapy.

The spectrum of addictions includes: Substance addictions: alcohol, cannabis, nicotine, opioids; Behavior addictions: gambling, internet, gaming, sex, food, exercise, and shopping.

Typical Job Duties of an Addiction Counsellor

Here is a list of job duties addiction counsellors typically encounter in private practice, hospitals, community clinics, residential treatment centers, group homes, schools, and correctional institutions:

  • Conduct group and individual sessions.
  • Create records of each patient's history and chart progress.
  • Assess a patient's psychological condition.
  • Crisis intervention.
  • Develop and implement treatment and recovery plans.
  • Attend staff meetings to discuss patient care.
  • Consult with other professionals to collaborate on treatment.
  • Assist patients in aftercare programs for recovery and relapse prevention.
  • Initiate community outreach and psycho-educational programs.

Applied Skill Development

To meet the employment standards for addiction counselling, KCPC selects textbooks, videos and study materials that focus on building job skills and self-awareness. Students are encouraged to examine personal assumptions that may influence the efficacy of their work with clients.

The Diploma program offers a combination of foundational counselling skills, and theories and techniques specific to addictions. This comprehensive training leads to in-depth understanding of key areas of specialized practice such as:

- Ethical, legal and professional issues.
- Core counselling skills such as empathy, motivational interviewing, etc.
- Integrated application of techniques based on evidence-based theories.
- The importance of a therapeutic alliance.
- Cultural diversity in the treatment of addictions.
- Theories of addiction.
- Psychopharmacology applied to clinical practice.
- Neuroscience of addiction.
- DSM-V polyaddictions and co-morbidity.
- Suicide, trauma and abuse.
- Individual counselling and relapse prevention strategies.
- Couples, family and group counselling.
- Prevention, evaluation, and assessment.
- Primary prevention and psycho-educational workshops.
- Specific types of substance and behavioral addictions.
- Clinical Assessments & Mental Status Exams.
- Counsellor’s reflective use of their personality, insights, and judgment.
- Treatment planning; case management; & report writing.

Requirements for Graduation

  • Complete 16 required courses.
  • Pass each course with a minimum of 65%.
  • Compile a portfolio of job skills required for entry-level practice as an Addictions Counsellor.
  • Demonstrate competency in core concepts by passing a comprehensive proficiency exam at the conclusion of the program.
  • Completion of a total of 984 hours of coursework.
  • Paid or volunteer work experience, 15 hrs. per month in a mental health setting for the duration of the program .

Required courses:

(click course title for description)

Employment & Professional Development Opportunities

Although KCPC cannot guarantee employment outcomes, graduates specializing in Addictions Counselling learn the necessary skills for entry-level positions. Applicants with additional experience or credentials increase their standing with perspective employers. Graduates are advised to apply for professional designation; liability insurance; and obtain clinical supervision during their first two years of practice.

A Diploma from KCPC in Addictions qualifies graduates to apply for professional designation from a variety of sources such as:

  • Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) is Internationally recognized as the gold standard provider in addiction credentialing both in Canada and on the International stage CACCF for which KCPC is a recognized and approved formal education provider. See: https://caccf.ca/approved-formal-education/
  • The Canadian College of Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy (CCPCP), a national, self-regulatory college inclusive of a wide range of mental health practitioners, grants the designation, ‘CCPCPr’-   www.ccpcp.ca
  • The  Canadian Professional Counsellors Association (CPCA), this professional association grants the designation, ‘ RPC’, Registered Professional Counsellor - https://thecpca.ca/
  • Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists (ACCT),  this professional association grants the designation, ‘RTC’, Registered Therapeutic Counsellor - http://acctcounsellor.com  


Scope of Practice for Addiction Counselling

Entry-level Addiction Counsellors are prepared to assist clients with low-to-moderate levels of difficulties due to substance and/or behavioral addiction. While similar in scope of practice to a professional counsellor, an Addiction Counsellor has a broader level of training in the knowledge and skills outlined in the Competency Profile for Addiction Counselling.

The recognized standard of practice for Addiction Counsellors in Canada includes:

  1. Clinical competence as reflected by specialized training, supervised experience, ethics, and the skill set outlined by the Competency profile for addiction counsellors.
  2. Registration and designations with a regulatory college, and/or professional association. (Registration requirements differ province by province.)

The Diploma in Applied Psychology and Counselling- specializing in Addictions Counselling conforms to ethical guidelines and competency standards established by the Ministry of Advanced Education in BC; the Competency Profile for Addictions Counsellors; the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association, (CPCA); Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists, (ACCT); and the Canadian College of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (CCPCP).


General Inquiries 250-717-0412 Ext 2