Addictions Counseling Specialization

Counselor Specializations Seal - Addictions-01

Core Training Requirements

To receive the specialization in addictions counseling a member must complete 20 hours of core training from the following required areas.

Understanding Addiction Biblically
Medical Issues and Addiction
Where to Begin with Life Dominating Sin
Counseling Sexual Sin
Counseling and Substance Abuse
Counseling and Gambling
A Biblical Perspective of Alcoholics Anonymous
A Biblical Perspective of the Twelve Steps Program
Understanding and Evaluating Celebrate Recovery from a Biblical Perspective

Counseling an Addict’s Enabler
How to Conduct an Addiction Intervention
Counseling Families Impacted by Addiction
Prevention Strategies for Addiction
How to Change Patterns of Thought
The Role of the Church Helping Someone Who is Addicted
The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Change Process

NOTE: The entirety of the core training must be provided through an ACBC Certified Training Center and taught by an ACBC Certified Counselor. Of that core training, 67% of it must be taught by a member who has received the Addictions Counseling Specialization. See the FAQs at the bottom of this page for more information.

Reading Requirements

To receive specialization in addictions counseling a member must complete 1200 pages of reading from the following approved books:

The Heart of Addiction, by Mark Shaw
Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies, by Mark Shaw
How Not to Raise an Addict, by Mark Shaw
Divine Intervention: Hope and Help For Families of Addicts, by Mark Shaw
Hope and Help for Gambling, by Mark Shaw
Hope and Help for Video Game, TV, and Internet “Addiction”, by Mark Shaw
Putting Off Life Dominating Sins, by Susan Heck
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, by Edward Welch
Diehard Sins, by Rush Whitt
The Discipline of Grace, by Jerry Bridges
Godliness Through Discipline, by Jay Adams
Killing Sin Habits, by Stuart Scott
Deception: Letting Go of Lying, by Lou Priolo
Manipulation: Knowing How to Respond, by Lou Priolo
The Enemy Within,
by Kris Lundgaard
The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life,
by Jeremy Pierre
Free Indeed,
by Richard Ganz
The Doctrine of Repentance,
by Thomas Watson
Freedom That Lasts,
by Jim Berg


NOTE: It is strongly suggested that reading be completed alongside or soon after training. Applicants will be required to report the books they have read along with the page numbers for each. See our FAQs at the bottom of the page for more information.


Once all reading and training requirements have been met according to the standards outlined above, members will enter into the examination phase.

Step 1

Complete the Application for Counseling Specialization Exam Access. This information will include the following:

  • Your name and the date of initial ACBC certification.
  • The name of the ACBC Certified Training Center where you received your instruction for the Counseling Specialization.
  • The date of the training and instruction.
  • The names of the lectures along with the instructor for each of these lectures.
  • List the books you have read along with the number of pages read for each book from the Specialization Reading Requirement.
Step 2
  • Take the Online Exam. This exam contains questions from the reading and training and provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of the material they have learned.
    • The Online Exam is closed note/book/Bible
    • Once you successfully complete the Online Exam, you will be granted access to the Written Exam
Step 3
  • Take the Written Exam. This exam is comprised up of in-depth case studies challenging the student in areas including content and methodology.
    • The Written Exam is closed note/book
    • You may use your Bible
    • Submit this portion in a Word document format
    • There is a $50.00 fee associated with the Written Exam

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can take advantage of this training?

For any component of the training outlined below to count towards earning the Addictions Counseling Specialization, the trainee must first be a certified member of ACBC.

When can I obtain this specialization?

This specialization will not be available to pursue until Fall 2020.

Where can I obtain this specialization?

ACBC Counseling Specializations are offered exclusively through one of our Certified Training Centers. Training and instructions for the Addictions Counseling Specialization must be taught by an ACBC Certified Counselor who offers this training through a Certified Training Center.  For the most up-to-date listing of approved training events, see our master calendar here.

NOTE:  The entirety of the required core training must be provided by an ACBC Certified Member and at least 67% of that training must be provided by a member who holds the Addictions Counseling Specialization.

What are the next steps for me to take action?

Visit or contact one of our Certified Training Centers who have Certified Counselors on staff who are authorized to offer training leading to the Addictions Counseling Specialization. If you have questions as to whether a Certified Training Center or Certified Counselor meets these requirements please email us at

How long do I have to complete this training?

Certified members pursuing this specialization have one year to complete the entire process from beginning to end.

What happens/what do I get when I obtain this specialization?

This specialization is further training in a specific area for ACBC members. In order to show that a member has advanced training, the specialization will be added to the online directory listing of every ACBC Member who satisfactorily completes all elements of the specialization.

Are there online options for training?

Any online training options will be at the discretion and determination of various ACBC Certified Training Centers. There will be some training centers that offer online opportunities and others will only offer regional training. This is based on the training decisions of each individual center.

Are these optional?

At the present, these are optional for ACBC certified members. In the future, they will be a part of a Continuing Education Program for ACBC members.