Addictions Counseling Specialization

Taught by Dr. Mark E. Shaw, this online course will prepare a counselor to engage counselees who are controlled by life-dominating sins, temptations, and addictive behaviors, while providing hope and direction to them in the midst of their struggles.

Created in Collaboration with...

  • Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC)

  • The Addiction Connection (TAC)

  • Grace Counseling Center, a certified ACBC Training Center


This Course is For Anyone

  • You do not have to be an ACBC Certified Counselor to complete the Education Phase online, right here. 
  • However, to proceed to the Examination Phase, you must have already obtained ACBC Certification

Instructions for ACBC Certified Counselors: 

  1. Sign up for and complete this online course in its entirety. 
  2. Read 1,200 pages from the approved reading list.
  3. When you’ve completed this Education Phase online, contact ACBC for the next step of the process.
  4. ACBC’s Examination Phase will include a multiple-choice exam and written exam. 
  5. Please note that The Addiction Connection & Grace Counseling Center DO NOT provide the examinations from ACBC. 
  6. When you finish this online course, you’ll receive a certificate. Download this certificate to your computer as proof of completion of the 20+ hours of lectures from an ACBC certified training center. If you did not receive a certificate upon completion, please email us at

Two Phases

(for the ACBC Certified Counselor)

  • Phase 1: Education

  • Phase 2: Examination

Phase 1: Education

Online Training + Required Reading

Engage in high-quality, focused training. You have two options for completion: 

Also, you'll need to read 1,200 pages from the approved reading list.

Core Training Requirements

An ACBC Certified Counselor and other counselors will complete a minimum of 20 hours of instruction covering the following topics:

  • 1

    Theological Foundations of Addictions

    • Introduction to the Course

    • Understanding Addictions Biblically

    • Origin of Addiction

    • A Biblical Foundation of Addiction Counseling

    • Understanding the Disease Model of Addictions

    • A Biblical Understanding of Twelve Steps Programs

    • Understanding and Evaluating Celebrate Recovery from a Biblical Perspective

  • 2

    Orientation to Addictions Counseling

    • Where to Begin with Life Dominating Sins

    • How to Change Patterns of Thought and Behavior

    • The Role of the Church in Helping Someone Who is Addicted

    • The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Change Process

    • The Practical Outworking of the Holy Spirit in Addiction Counseling

    • Understanding Temptation: A Framework for Counseling All Types of Addiction

  • 3

    Issues in Addictions Counseling

    • Medical Issues and Addictions

    • Counseling and Substance Abuse

    • Counseling and Gambling

    • Counseling and Sexual Sin

  • 4

    Addiction Intervention Strategies

    • Prevention Strategies for Addiction - Part 1

    • Prevention Strategies for Addiction - Part 2: Glorifying God Through Intentional Parenting

    • Counseling Families Impacted by Addiction

    • Counseling an Addict's Enabler

    • How to Conduct an Addiction Intervention - Part 1

    • How to Conduct an Addiction Intervention - Part 2

Reading Requirements

An ACBC Certified Counselor and other counselors must complete 1,200 pages of reading from the following approved books:

Phase 2: Examination

Multiple Choice Exam + Written Exam

Be tested to verify your retention and understanding of the biblical truths presented and their applications. This is a two-part process including a multiple-choice exam and a written exam with in-depth case studies. Contact ACBC for more information.


DMin, Biblical Counseling, CADAC II, ACBC

Dr. Mark E. Shaw

Mark is a certified biblical counselor and Founder of The Addiction Connection. As an author, speaker, teacher of the Word, and certified alcohol and drug addiction counselor, Mark has been involved in helping people who struggle with addictions since 1991. He serves as the Director of Counseling at Grace Fellowship Church in Florence, KY. He and his wife, Mary, have 4 young adult children.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can take advantage of this training?

    Anyone can take this online course on Thinkific. You do not have to be an ACBC Certified Counselor to complete Phase 1 online, right here. However, to advance to Phase 2, you must be an ACBC Certified Counselor.

  • When and where can I obtain this specialization?

    Phase 1 of the training can be completed online, right here on Thinkific. All you need to do is sign up for the course below! You'll have access for 1 year. (One-time renewal fee for an additional year is $50 and must be requested by email to

  • Is this course from an ACBC Certified Training Center?

    Yes! This course had been created by Grace Counseling Center (Grace Fellowship Church) in Florence, Kentucky, an ACBC Certified Training Center. This course is also supported and launched by The Addiction Connection, a ministry founded by Dr. Mark Shaw, who is the Director of Counseling at Grace Fellowship Church.

  • Is there a deadline to complete ACBC's Specialization process?

    ACBC Certified Counselors pursuing this specialization have one year to complete the entire process from beginning to end. This is also our suggestion for other counselors.

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

    This specialization is further training in a specific area created for ACBC Certified Counselors. In order to show that a counselor has advanced training. The specialization will be added to the online directory listing of every ACBC Certified Counselor who satisfactorily completes all elements of the specialization. Beginning in 2022, the Addictions Counseling Specialization will also count for Continuing Education Unit credit.

  • Is there any cost associated with earning a specialization?

    This online course only includes Phase 1 (open to the public) of the specialization. It costs $197. To complete Phase 2 (Multiple Choice and Written Exams) you'll need to contact ACBC and pay a separate fee of $50. Therefore, the total cost for the ACBC Specialization is about $250.00

  • Are specializations with ACBC required?

    At the present, this specialization is optional for ACBC Certified Counselors. In the future, it will be a part of the Continuing Education requirements for ACBC Certified Counselors.

  • I still have questions. How can I get answers for these questions?

    Send us an email at and someone from our team at The Addiction Connection will get back with you.

Registration Cost

In Summary...

Addictions Counseling Specialization Requirements (For ACBC Certified Counselors)

  • Sign up on this page and pay $197

  • Complete all lessons in the course and download your certificate

  • Read 1,200 pages from the approved reading list

  • Contact ACBC to request access to the examinations

  • Done!