Advanced Diploma in Addiction Therapy

Advanced Diploma in Addiction Therapy

A ground-breaking training programme taught by renowned experts in their field.

A total of 50 days over 2 years part time and designed for professionals interested in the conceptualisation and treatment of what is commonly referred to as addictions.

Addictions may find expression as an addictive personality and lifestyle, that can manifest as addictive behaviours –such as gambling or sex addiction–, addictive processes –such as relationships, co-dependency or disordered eating– or substance addiction –as in alcohol, narcotics and medications.

Addictions can coincide with clinical and psychological presentations, such as hyper sexuality, psychosis and the chronic or acute trauma which may give rise to these conditions.

We recognise that applicants to this programme come from a variety of backgrounds with the goal of extending their theoretical knowledge and practical skills in understanding, supporting and treating addiction.
The training programme aims to bring together a diverse range of professional disciplines and expertise, offering you a well-informed approach to support those who are struggling with the effects of addiction.
Jointly course participants will be supported in a critical examination of existing treatment models and how their own practice can accommodate new concepts and knowledge. Our teaching approach encourages also discussion in the classroom.

For Whom is This Training
Applications are invited from counsellors, therapists, and psychologists, psychosexual and relationship therapists. Mental health professionals will be considered. Applicants are expected to have a minimum of 2 years professional experience and be familiar with principles of self reflection and supervision.
Maximum: 20 students


Faculty (TBC)
Pamela Roberts, Prof Frederick Toates, Dr Stroma Macfarlane, Robert Hudson, Thomas Brosnan, Dr Sharon O’Driscoll, Georgia Swift, Josh Dickson


25 weekends, 50 full days, over 2 years
2023 – 2025
Full day: 9.00am to 5.00pm

Weekend 1:  25th – 26th March
Weekend 2:  22nd – 23rd April
Weekend 3:  20th – 21st May
Weekend 4:  24th – 25th June
Weekend 5:  22nd – 23rd July
Weekend 6:  21st – 22nd September
Weekend 7:  21st – 22nd October
Weekend 8:  18th – 19th November
Weekend 9:  2nd – 3rd December

Weekend 10: 13th – 14th January
Weekend 11: 17th – 18th February
Weekend 12: 16th – 17th March
Weekend 13: 20th – 21st April
Weekend 14: 18th – 19th May
Weekend 15: 15th – 16th June
Weekend 16: 15th – 14th July
Weekend 17: 7th – 8th September
Weekend 18: 5th – 6th October
Weekend 19: 9th – 10th November
Weekend 20: 7th – 8th December

Weekend 21: 11th – 12th January
Weekend 22:  8th – 9th February
Weekend 23: 8th – 9th March
Weekend 34: 5th – 6th April
Weekend 25: 10th – 11th May


Fees are £9.800. Payable by one non-refundable deposit of £200 (to reserve your place), plus 24 instalments of £400 a month. All prices include VAT at 20%.


In person, London

Full Course Content

Full course content

Course Theory
Our philosophy is Integrative, drawing on a wide range of theoretical orientations and disciplines including psychodynamic and relational approaches, CBT, neuroscience, systemic, trauma related, Minnesota, transpersonal, medical, somatic, medical and psychiatric.
The course will provide a dynamic and supportive setting to maximise the learning about addiction and the impact it can have.

What do we offer
This training will enable the students to critically examine and implement different approaches and models of addiction counselling in their own professional practice to maximise the support their clients need to find their own answers to their problems. We do include evidence-based practices.

Our teaching style is largely experiential, interspersed with didactic teaching, group process, skills training and live supervision. The overriding ethos is humanistic-integrative and relational. We will introduce a process of assessing addiction and treatment/therapy plans. We will consider 1:1 therapy, groups therapy, residential treatments programmes, and the incorporation of self-help groups.

The training may be particularly attractive for those who want to work with diverse, multicultural, marginalised groups of clients struggling with addiction and/or social exclusion. We enable you to increase awareness of the wider systems and context within which your clients and their family operate. Differences and similarities are equally valued on the course.
Students are also personally challenged to become more resilient and resourced, improving their capacity to deal with the traumatic experiences their clients present.
Teaching and supervisory methods emphasize the multi-layered, multi-faceted processes of this impactful work, including the intentional use of self.

The programme is designed to support those who wish to become professionally accredited in the field. The course content meets the criteria of Addiction Professionals (AP). There is a requirement of 150 hours of client work and the completion of 3 written assignments, totalling 12,500 words.

Faculty (to be confirmed) includes a highly experienced team of specialists representing clinical expertise in all of the above.
Pamela Roberts, Prof Fred Toates, Dr Stroma Macfarlane, Robert Hudson, Thomas Brosnan, Dr Sharon O’Driscoll, Georgia Swift, Josh Dickson

Our approach to addictions
During this training we deconstruct the cause and effect of the addictive lifestyle and we present a variety of models for the treatment of individuals within the wider context of bio-psycho-social integration.
This Advanced Diploma is underpinned by the alignment of the Biological, Emotional, Relational, Social, Environmental and Cultural dimensions of the client.

What is addiction
Addiction is a short-cut word for an extraordinarily complex issue and a representation of a deeper emptiness of mind, body, emotion. We also need to take into consideration the environment. Addiction is not just a personal issue, there’s a collective element too. Nobody is addicted because we are all addicted.

Addictive qualities can appear to be functional as well as holding the potential for disaster. We celebrate tenacity, rigour, and determination. When we are striving for excellence, these qualities can appear to lead to amazing accomplishments: the diligent student, the successful businessperson, the great athlete. Some addictions seem to support great success.

We start taking addiction seriously when it rips away at what is most important in life. Addiction interferes with personal development, blocks self-awareness, and deepens a sense of dislocation. Relationships are destroyed and empathy is replaced with disconnect. Shame and guilt create an abyss of loneliness in which a person can disappear.

While living in this abyss the addicted person clings to the belief that their addiction is still their best friend. They overlook the preoccupation, the chaos and tragedy, the changeable moods, the hounding of an insatiable appetite for again, for more. At the same time, they battle with self-loathing and trash all their personal morals and values. Addiction can take up every aspect of a person’s life.

Objects of addiction can be complex, even interchangeable, leading to an addictive lifestyle. An alcohol addiction can be replaced by an addiction to exercise, or any other way to avoid the fundamental longing underlying the need to silence the inner pain. Addiction simply acts as the escape from whatever it is that seems unbearable.

The course explores the different held “beliefs” about addiction. We will investigate ideas from a single root causation to pluralistic influences.

Some questions to reflect upon:

  • Is addiction genetically predetermined in everyone, but circumstances trigger it, or are some personality types more impulsive and therefore prone to compulsive behaviours?
  • Can we bring about change? If so, how?
  • Is addiction a ‘necessary’ attachment? is addiction a kind of pseudo attachment
  • Should we focus on minimising harm and risk, or do we embrace abstinence?

To answer these questions we will explore the biology of addiction, the psychology of addiction, psychopharmacology, co-morbidity, relationships and addiction, trauma and addiction, the social structure of addiction and how the environment and culture influence addiction.

Or the 6 lenses (BERSEC) through which we look at addiction are:
Biological, Emotional, Relational, Social, Environmental and Cultural aspects and how they intertwine with each other.

  1. Biological: Brain and body – mind, physical and mental health, co-morbidities, personality types, gender
  2. Emotional: Affect dysregulation and regulation – anger, fear, shame and guilt, joy/pleasure, trauma
  3. Relational: Couples, families, trans-generational, co-dependency, attachment, sexuality
  4. Social: Social groups, employment, dislocation, de-socialisation, belonging and connection, political, economical, age
  5. Environment: Covid, climate change, poverty
  6. Cultural: Belief systems, race influences, principles/values

The overall course aims are:

  • To increase understanding of the principles and practice of a number of theoretical approaches to addiction
  • To provide practical and appropriate interventions when working with clients and family who have experience of addiction
  • To gain a deeper understanding of the impact of addiction on mental health, psyche, body, relationships, work and spirituality
  • To develop a greater awareness of the contribution various theoretical approaches can make to therapeutic work with people impacted by addiction
  • To promote a deeper capacity to reflect on working practice and the impact of working with addiction
  • To critically examine the psychology of addiction
  • To critically examine the recent research and contributions in understanding addiction
  • Intergenerational issues

Topics that will be covered over the 2 years:

  • Biological Psychology of addiction
  • Psychiatry and medicine of addiction, co-morbidity including bi-polar, psychosis, ADHD, depression and addiction
  • Chemsex and addiction
  • Couples impacted by sexual compulsive behaviour
  • Pornography addiction
  • Sex, hypersexuality and paraphilias
  • Sex and law
  • Neuroscience, reward/gratification pathways and addiction
  • Relapse prevention
  • Epigenetics – unlearning
  • Concepts of addiction: disease, psychodynamic, moral and lifestyle models
  • Aetiology of addiction
  • CBT
  • Manifestation of addiction, i.e. substance/behavioural/process addictions
  • Psychology of addiction
  • Intersectionality and addiction
  • Family and children and addiction
  • Probation, law/criminality
  • Chronic pain and addiction
  • PTSD and developmental trauma, residential treatment group process and 1:1 work, EMDR, 12 Step and trauma
  • Addictive personality
  • BERSEC as a model of integration
  • MI approach, integrative/relational/depth therapy approach
  • Compassionate approach
  • Couples therapy and addiction
  • PAWS
  • Cross/poly-addiction
  • Kindling Effect
  • Addictions and cultural differences,
  • Psychedelics
  • Gaming and Social media addiction
  • Disordered eating and the addictive process
  • Co-dependency and addiction

Dates 2023 – 2025 (tbc)
2 year Diploma – 25 weekends (400 hours) = 1 weekend per month per year.
Sat/Sun 09.00am to 05:00pm.

Written work
Year 1
Essay (3500 words) – Self-reflection
Project (4000 words) – research for example 12 step meeting/SMART/Al Anon/Drug and Alcohol service/residential treatment

Year 2
Case Study (5000 words)

Ealing Broadway, London

Accreditation with NCP and working towards accreditation with Addictions Professionals (AP).