module specification

SW7012 - Understanding and Working with Addiction (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Understanding and Working with Addiction
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 298
45 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
205 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Coursework essay as a method of diagnostic assessment
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

• This module provides a broad introduction to the epidemiology, prevalence, description, diagnoses and theoretical models of the aetiology of addiction.
• We will explore the reality of support and services available to people with addictions, the experiences they recount and the social workers role and practice conflicts within those.
• It will provide an opportunity for participants to critically examine definitions, descriptions and classifications of addiction and concepts such as ‘addictive personalities’ and major psychological theories and vulnerabilities in the aetiology of addiction
• The module will look at law, social policy, contemporary advances, evidenced based practice, prevention, current treatment models and the role of social work.


What is addiction? To include:

Definition and diagnosis
Types of addiction
The stages of the addiction process
Illegal substances
Other addictions

Why do people become addicted? Hereditary, life experiences or choice? To include:

Aetiology of addiction
Psychological theories
Vulnerabilities for addiction

How does ‘society’ perceive people with addiction? To include:

What does the law say?
Current social policy and the NICCE guidelines
The current service landscapes
Stigma, oppression, hate crime and the role of the police

The experience of having an addiction in the UK in 2018/19. Individual accounts and case histories. To include;

Real stories and cases
Statistics and a reality check
Accounts from social workers and other professionals working with people with addictions

Looking at contemporary advances in research and helpful approaches.
To include:

Cognitive behavioural therapy
Solution focused brief therapy
Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives
12-Step Facilitation Therapy
Family Behavior Therapy
The potential future of addiction services, creative, solution focused approaches and the challenging of judgemental, despondency.
To include:
Analysing current local services and support available
Celebrate local successes and what services are doing well
Looking at strategies for potential improvement
Developing a personal action plan for approaches to people who have addictions in the future.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The richness of adult learning and training is the diversity of the participants. In roles, levels of experience, priorities, levels of understanding, personality, ethnicity etc. This module will enable everyone to have a positive experience of the course, the key messages of the programme will be re-enforced in various ways to ensure people with visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learning styles have equal opportunity to absorb the essential information. This will be achieved by using lots of real examples, chosen to relate as closely as possible to the work place of the specific participants. It should also involve encouraging participants to think of examples themselves in situations they may be part of and in settings they visit. If the sessions feel really relevant and targeted to the participants, they are far more likely to achieve the learning outcomes.

We will ensure participants understand how to access further resources, e learning packages to support their learning is essential in achieving a blended learning approach. Only a limited amount of information can be absorbed at a workshop so it important participants have opportunity for good reflective effective supervision, mentoring and modelling to embed new skills and knowledge and the motivation to seek further information as required.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module participants will have:
1. Explored and critically examined a wide range of theories, diagnoses and concepts which underpin how we support people with addiction.
2. Developed an understanding of the law and social policy that influences services and support available and explored the social workers role.
3. Developed empathy with people who have addictions, how they got there and the challenges and assumptions they face.
4. Enhanced knowledge of the service landscape and the legislative and policy framework that underpins it.
5. Explored alcohol addiction v illegal substances. Differences and commonalities and societal opinions.
6. Examined current research and treatment approaches
7. Looked at the potential future of addiction services, creative, solution focused approaches and the challenging of judgemental, despondency.
8. Developed a personal action plan for approaches to people who have addictions in the future.



Core Text:
Addiction A Guide to Understanding Its Nature and Essence Colin O'Driscoll (2014)

Other Texts:
Social Work with Drug, Alcohol and Substance Misusers Goodman, Anthony
3rd Edition 2013

Mum, Can You Lend Me Twenty Quid? What drugs did to my family
by Elizabeth Burton-Phillips MBE

A critique of the domestic law framework Access to Social Care Human Rights: transforming services? By Bowen, P (2014) London. Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Social Work Theory and Practice (2017) by Lesley Deacon - University of Sunderland, UK Stephen J. Macdonald - University of Sunderland, UK

The British Journal of Social Work (Oxford journals for BASW)
Professional Social Work. (BASW)
Journal of Social Work  SAGE Publications Ltd
British Journal of Social Work  Social Care Online

First ever substance misuse framework for social workers launches ...
Addictions psychiatry
Rethinking addiction | The Psychologist
The Many Roles of Social Workers in the Prevention and Treatment of ...
British Association of Social Workers: BASW
Community Care Social Work News & Social Care Jobs
National Institute for Social Work: NISW
The British Journal of Social Work Oxford Academic - Oxford Journals

Electronic Databases:
Social Care Online.
Social Policy & Practice

Social Media Sources