Methods of Alcoholism Counseling and Therapy


Methods of Alcoholism Counseling and Therapy

Alcohol addiction is still very prevalent in today's society, and counseling is often the best way to treat it.

There are actually many different methods of counseling that are used in alcohol addiction treatment.


Why is Addiction Counseling So Important?

Counseling and therapy sessions are the long-term treatments for alcohol abuse and other drug addictions. The NIDA states that detox as a treatment "by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse." As a person is detoxing from alcohol, he or she should receive counseling sessions as they "help patients engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behavior related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills." Counseling gives patients in alcohol rehab the tools they need to continue their healthy recovery after treatment.

Methods of Addiction Counseling

There are many different methods of counseling in alcohol addiction rehab. At an inpatient facility (or a rehab center where the patient is under 24-hour care), you will have access to:

  • Behavioral Therapies - These are highly effective and used in almost every rehab facility. According to the NIAAA, "behavioral therapies are especially effective in encouraging self-change." They use goal setting, self-analysis and self-monitoring, and the learning of different coping skills to affect change.
  • Couples and Family Counseling - Couples therapy works on the concepts that "intimate partners can reward abstinence" and that "reducing relationship distress lessens risk for relapse" (NREPP). Family therapy can also be useful for teens with alcohol addiction and adults who need to see the effects their addiction has on their families.
  • Group Therapy - These take place amongst a group of alcohol abusers who discuss their issues and talk together about the different problems which they all face. These methods are often used in outpatient care as well.
  • Brief Interventions - These can be even shorter sessions and can "enable doctors to help patients in identifying high-risk situations when they might use alcohol and discuss skills for coping with those situations without drinking" (NIAAA). These sessions can even be done in an hour.

Mutual-Help Groups (MHGs)

Many people turn to MHGs when seeking alcohol addiction treatment. In fact, the NIAAA states that they "remain the most commonly sought source of help for [alcohol addiction] in the United States." These groups are often so helpful because they can be found everywhere. Methods of MHG counseling are:

  • Reinforcement
  • Behavior modeling (provided by a sponsor or person guiding participants after having been through his or her own addiction).
  • Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy
  • Support networks that can be called upon outside of counseling hours.

According to the Bryn Mawr College, "with therapy, an alcoholic can learn what exactly impels them to drink, thereby providing them with insight." Different methods of therapy and counseling help a person learn real and practical ways of recovering from alcohol addiction. A combination of different counseling methods catered to the individual patient's needs is usually the best course of treatment.

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