Course Outline

COU708 Counselling and Addictions

Course Coordinator:Trudi Flynn ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 2

UniSC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course utilises a biopsychosocial framework to explore contributing factors and impacts of addiction. The course will examine processes of change when engaging therapeutically with alcohol, drug and other behavioural addictions, and investigate current intervention and treatment strategies when working with individuals, groups and within the community. Skills training will centre around assessment and care planning, therapeutic intervention approaches, relapse prevention and therapist self-care.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus workshop - 3 hours 3hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Introduction to Addiction;

The Biopsychosocial model in addiction;

Substance dependence and addiction;

Process and Behavioural dependencies and addictions;

Dual diagnosis in addiction

Addiction throughout the lifespan;

Harm minimization approaches;

Therapeutic approaches and engagement;

The Stages of Change;

Motivational Interviewing; I, II, III

Shame and other emotions in addiction;

Spirituality in Addiction, The 12-step model; The ‘Hole’ in Addiction; 

Family impacts of addiction;

Relapse prevention and the Recovery model;

Assessment in Addictions Counselling and Therapeutic formulation

Therapeutic planning in addiction counselling: What? When?;

Navigating challenges in addictions counselling;

Counsellor safety, growth and self-care

What level is this course?

700 Level (Specialised)

Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Demonstrate mastery of the theoretical concepts underpinning addictions including biomedical, psychological and social frameworks, and the classification of treatments for a variety of addictions. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Analyse and evaluate the role of counselling, pharmacotherapy and other treatment supports used with individual, couples and family impacted by addiction issues. Creative and critical thinker
3 Apply knowledge and skills learned in a counselling session. Knowledgeable
4 Critically reflect on their own facilitation of Motivational Interviewing within a counselling session. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
5 Apply a client-directed and outcome informed approach in developing a comprehensive treatment plan for a client presenting with addictions in an ethical and responsible manner. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
6 Demonstrate a developing scholarly capacity in written submissions, incorporating clarity of written expression, integration of academic literature, and adherence to APA style. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


COU750 and COU701 and enrolled in AR708


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Students will be requested to complete online tests at the end of Weeks 4 and 9, that will assess acquisition and comprehension of material presented during the four weeks prior to each test. Students will receive informal feedback on demonstrated counselling skills within workshops from Week 5.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
60 minutes for each test
Refer to Format Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Oral and Written Piece Individual 45%
30 Minutes video role play; 1000 word written critical reflection
Week 10 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Case Study Individual 35%
2500 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Addictions and Counselling Theory online tests
Demonstrate mastery of core theoretical concepts.
Product: Quiz/zes
Submit: Weeks 4 and 9 This task involves completion a set of two on-line, theory-based tests. Each test will consist of four short answer items . Each item will be valued at 2.5 marks. The total available score for each test is 10 marks.  Items will cover core concepts covered in Weeks 1-4 (Test 1); and Weeks 5-9(Test 2) of the course. You will have 60 minutes to complete each test.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accurate responses to test items will demonstrate knowledge and understanding.
1 2
All - Assessment Task 2:Demonstration of a Counselling Session (Recorded on Video)
To apply knowledge and skills in a counselling roleplay; To demonstrate capacity to critically reflect on skills and performance
Product: Oral and Written Piece
You will conduct and record a role play of a counselling session with you in the counsellor role. It will be based on client scenarios that will be provided to you. You will also need to record 30 minutes of your role play in a digital recording format.Your role play will address one of the following:Exploration of a substance abuse or gambling (or other agreed addiction) issue potentially affecting a client's well-being;A client's decision to modify their behaviour;Client care planning;A third visit client review session;Relapse planning or post relapse intervention with client presenting significant substance abuse.In this role play demonstration, you will utilise a client centred practice informed by your preferred counselling model.You will then be requested to complete a brief 1000 word critical reflection relating to your performance:Describe the strategies and skills you felt that you used effectively, explaining the effect of those skills on the client-counsellor relationship;Were there strategies and skills used that you would like to strengthen?Consider alternative strategies and skills that may have been appropriate.Reflect on your client feedback;
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Effective use of selected counselling approach and related skills;
Clear and appropriate response to the presenting scenario;
1 2 3
Appropriate use of language, timing and ethical considerations.
Critical Reflection: 
Understanding of the range and purpose of counselling skills demonstrated;
1 2 3 4
Appropriate intra- and interpersonal self-awareness;
Critique is analytical rather than descriptive; with a focus on process rather than content;
1 3 4
Evidence of personal learning through informed and pertinent critical reflection;
2 4
All - Assessment Task 3:Case Study Care Plan and Rationale
To develop a comprehensive treatment plan for a client with addictions
Product: Case Study
For this task, you will develop the kind of care plan you would prepare in a professional setting.You will be provided with a choice of case studies around which to develop your plan. In developing the care plan, you will research and apply your understanding of an addiction to a client's situation through an assessment process. This will involve:Selecting and applying a method of assessment relevant to that addiction;Developing a care plan based on the proforma provided on Canvas and outlining your rationale and what you understand are the important bio-psycho-social issues for you to monitor and address from a counselling approach.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Evidenced understanding of the biopsychosocial framework for viewing addiction.
Demonstrated capacity in relation to assessment and case formulation;
1 5
Demonstrated capacity to identify an appropriate, evidence-based counselling treatment approach;
1 2 5
Effective demonstration of field specific knowledge;
1 2
Coherent argument; clarity of written expression; accurate application of APA7 formatting style.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Katherine van Wormer,Diane Rae Davis 2017 Addiction Treatment 4 Cengage Learning

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Conduct
  • Students with a Disability

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