Addictions Counsellor – Plannning a Career


If you’re interested in a career in the addiction treatment sector the Addictions Counsellor job is one that can be hugely rewarding. It requires commitment, hard work and an empathy for people and it’s fair to say that while working as an Addictions Counsellor can be emotionally challenging the benefits can be significant.

The Addictions Counsellor spends time with people who are suffering with addiction disorders in a safe and confidential environment. They help them talk about their feelings and as a result make a positive difference to their lives. It’s a role that can literally save lives because the counsellor client relationship is one that can be pivotal in helping people move away from addiction and into sustained long term recovery from addiction.

What does the Addictions Counsellor job involve?

Key functions of the addictions counsellor include:

  • building a relationship of trust and respect with clients
  • agreeing with clients what will be covered in sessions
  • encouraging clients to talk about their feelings
  • listening carefully and asking questions to understand a client’s situation
  • empathising with the client’s issues, but challenging them when necessary
  • helping clients to see things more clearly or in a different way
  • referring clients to other sources of help if suitable
  • going to regular meetings with your counselling supervisor
  • keeping confidential records

What qualifications do I need to become an Addictions Counsellor?

You can enter the job via a university or college course.

If going to university appeals, you could do a degree or postgraduate course in counselling or psychotherapy.

Look for a course that includes practical skills training and supervised placements. You can search for courses via the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

If college is a better option you can start by doing an introduction to counselling course, which can last up to 12 weeks. After that, you can extend your training by completing courses like:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Counselling
  • Level 4 Diploma in Counselling Skills
  • Level 5 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

Where can I find out more?

Career tips

Becoming an Addictions Counsellor can often be a second or third career, and lived experience is highly valued.

Professional and industry bodies

Becoming a member of a body on the Professional Standards Authority’s counselling register can improve your chances of getting a job.

You can find out more about careers in counselling from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

If you’re an employer and you’d like Recovery Recruitment to help you fill an Addictions Counsellor vacancy contact us here or call 0203 784 4471 for a chat about how we can deliver candidates who match your organisational needs and ethos.

Or maybe you’re working as an addictions counsellor and you’re looking for a move, or to supplement your private practice with part time salaried work, we’d love to hear from you.

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