Drug and Alcohol Counselling Level 3

NCFE Customised Qualification Level 3
Gain the knowledge needed to specialise in a career as a drug and alcohol counsellor
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Drug and alcohol misuse is a serious and widespread problem, affecting not just those with substance abuse problems, but the people around them and society as a whole. Drug and alcohol counsellors work with people who are struggling with addiction, helping them to overcome their problems and lead healthier, more productive lives.

This Level 3 Drug & Alcohol Counselling Course will equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful substance misuse counsellor. You will learn about different types of drugs, their risk profiles, and their effects on the body and mind. You will also gain insights into the psychological and social factors that contribute to substance abuse and learn strategies for helping people to overcome addiction. Additionally, you will develop your communication skills so that you can build strong relationships with clients, helping them to beat addiction and achieve their goals.

What you will learn

  1. Unit 1 - Introduction to Addictions

    This unit will encourage you to delve deeper into the physical and psychological reasons behind dependency. You’ll learn the signs, symptoms and consequences as well as the strains it may have on your finances, family and employment and its links to crime and mental health problems.

  2. Unit 2 - Addictive Substances

    The world of drugs is forever changing and expanding, but this unit will aim to increase your familiarity of highly addictive drugs. You’ll have an improved understanding of Amphetamines, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Heroin, Nicotine, Alcohol, Cocaine, MDMA and Crystal Meth.

  3. Unit 3 - Models and Perspectives Surrounding Substance Misuse

    Next, you’ll look at a number of arguing theories behind dependency, including moral, medical, genetic and neurobiological, and psychological models. You’ll find out if an addictive personality has an impact on people with a dependency, looking closely at behavioural theory, social cognitive learning models, and sociocultural models too. Also learning about the neurophysiology of addiction as well as tolerance.

  4. Unit 4 - Classification of Substances

    There are various category classifications of substances, often causing different sensations and feelings. During this unit you’ll get a better understanding of these categories including depressants, opioids and narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabinoids and inhalants.

  5. Unit 5 - Treatment and Preventions

    Treatment and prevention are a key aspect of this course, enlightening you on some of the preventative mechanisms used to help people with substance misuse problems, including primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. You’ll gain a better insight on how to assess those with substance misuse problems, functional analysis of behaviour prior to substance misuse, and highlight key information all practitioners must remember.

  6. Unit 6 - Stages of Change

    During this unit you’ll be able to recognise a client as being at one of these six stages; pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and relapse. You’ll also explore the strategies for each stage of change and learn about how motivational interviewing can be carried out through discrepancy, empathy, ambivalence and resistance.

  7. Unit 7 - Navigating Recovery

    In this unit you’ll visit SMART goals and how they can be used to aid recovery, covering areas such as withdrawal management, outpatient services, pharmacotherapy treatments, family counselling, twelve-step programmes and relapse prevention.

  8. Unit 8 - Reflexivity and Diversity

    Lastly, you’ll learn about reflexivity as a practitioner, exploring the challenges faced and the questions to ask and not ask if someone has a history of substance misuse. You’ll also consider areas such as intoxication, compassion fatigue ad vicious trauma and client diversity. Concluding this course will leave you with an invaluable variety of skills needed to take forward into drug and alcohol counselling.

  9. Unit 9 - Further Reading

    An in-depth exploration into the history, models, and aspects of drug addiction and counselling. Not a requirement for the course, but this further reading with greatly help when it comes to answering your assignment questions, as well as improve your knowledge of the field.

With a heritage stretching back over 150 years, NCFE is one of the largest awarding bodies in the UK. Over 340,000 students were awarded certification by NCFE last year.

Course Outcome

At the end of this Drug and Alcohol Counselling course, successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement by NCFE Customised Qualifications. You can read more about NCFE here.

How is this course assessed or examined?

Throughout this course, you may be expected to complete assignments, essays, research projects, presentations, video/audio recordings, and practical learning sessions to meet the requirements of your course. This information will be included in your study pack detailing exactly what you need to do to accomplish your goals as a student.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry request year.

Courses Taught by Experts


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I always knew that a career focused around helping people achieve their goals was perfect for me. That’s why I became a tutor. I love to see my student’s confidence flourish as they progress through their courses. It’s important to help them fit their learning goals around their personal commitments so they have the best chance of success! 

Kelly, tutor


Early Years

Beginning my career as an early years practitioner inspired me to step into the world of teaching. I have since elevated my skillset through a range of qualifications including L3 in Assessing Vocational Achievement, L3 in Education & Training and L4 in Internal Quality Assurance. I’m a big kid at heart; I love Disney movies and also dabble in photography.  



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For 10+ years, my passion for helping learners develop and grow has driven my career as a teacher. To help me progress even further, I am currently studying to achieve the IQA award. I love reading and I’m a self-professed Harry Potter fan. Talk to me about all things history, rock music, tattoos and true crime podcasts. 

Laura, tutor


STEM and History of Art

Marine biology, jellyfish conservationist, hairdresser, fitness instructor… I have an eclectic backstory! Art is my passion and one of my proudest moments was achieving my Masters in Fine Art. I then requalified as an Art teacher to share my knowledge with my students. For most of my career, I’ve supported vulnerable students with additional needs such as SEMH and SEN.



Education and Childcare

My 30-year stride in education started with childminding, to working with pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. I then tutored in a national reading programme and went on to become a Higher-Level TA. I’m elated to say I graduated with a First-Class BA Honours Degree when I was 50 – living proof that it’s never too late to chase your dreams!