Alcohol Counseling: Addiction & Therapy

Last Updated: August 8, 2019

Alcohol Counseling: Addiction & Therapy

What is Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling is therapy for patients who are addicted to alcohol and is widely used both as the part of outpatient treatment for alcoholism and aftercare therapy upon residential program completion. The first step in every substance abuse recovery process is for a patient to admit that they have a problem.

Consequently, the main goal of alcohol counseling is to find out why the person fell into alcohol abuse in the first place, and treat those issues.

When it comes to alcohol counseling, there is no “one size fits all” solution. A counselor’s approach must be different for every individual. There is no universal way to conduct this type of therapy.

Different Forms of Counseling for Alcohol

One of the most efficient counseling methods is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

By implementing CBT, the counselor—together with his patient—strives to break the emotional ties to alcohol which helps in reducing alcohol cravings. Furthermore, the counselor encourages his patient to expose their feelings to find out the initial reason for alcohol abuse. Although the medication for alcohol craving exists, the reason is often psychological rather than physical. The next few steps of therapy include the counselor’s advice on how to deal with everyday problems and emotions. These sessions seek to answer how a patient’s dependency on alcohol affects their:

  • Relationships
  • Work
  • Emotions
  • Behavior
  • Way of thinking
  • Health
  • Quality of life in general

Once these questions have been addressed, the counselor helps the client to identify new coping mechanisms.

Forms of Counseling for Alcohol

  • Another form of alcohol counseling is Motivational Therapy. This type of therapy helps clients build up the confidence and motivation to stay sober and commit to their goal. This type of therapy is practical when a person doesn’t want to continue a rehabilitation program and fails to realize the necessity for change.
  • Marital or Family Therapy is useful when it comes to building a support system for the client. Family therapy works with the entire network of people affected by the individual’s addiction to alcohol, not just the addict. Therapy can provide encouragement and support for each family member, as it also boosts their loved one’s welfare and chances of recovering from alcoholism. Restoring and constant maintenance of social relationships is very important for the recovery process and relapse prevention.
  • Interventions are a kind of short-form therapy. Their main goal is to address the immediate risks of substance abuse related behavior.

Alcohol Counselors

The counselor’s role is to conduct the therapy, as well as offer helpful advice.

Counselors provide information and help patients develop healthy daily routines, which can aid them in dealing with difficult situations and temptations. Some of the ways to maintain sobriety include avoiding triggers, learning how to say no to alcohol, setting achievable goals, milestones, and new priorities, and finding aspirations. Counselors help their patients to find healthy alternatives to alcohol.

Furthermore, if needed, the counselor can recommend supervision during the withdrawal period, psychological treatment and medication.

Another important duty of the counselor is to provide positive reinforcement and help their client get back on track (if the relapse occurs). Even heavy drinkers—who have been alcohol abusers for decades—can achieve long-term sobriety with the right form of counseling and a devoted counselor.


Overall, alcohol counseling is not a short-term method. When relapse occurs, the counselor has to set the client back on the right track. Practicing sobriety is a grueling and time-demanding—but rewarding—process.

When it comes to maintaining long- term sobriety, alcohol abuse counseling is one of the best methods there is. The multidimensional approach provides support and guidance during this challenging alcoholism rehabilitation process.


Gregory Okhifun

Dr. Gregory Okhifun

Medical Reviewer

Dr. Okhifun is a passionate medical doctor, with over five years’ experience as a general practitioner. His passion for medical education led to his journey in medical writing. He has a wealth of experience writing for hospitals and medical centers, health organizations, telemedicine platforms, wellness organizations, medical tourism publications, addiction websites, and websites focused on nutrition and nutraceuticals.
He also serves as medical coordinator and content writer for Gerocare Solutions, for which he also volunteers as a health advisor/consultant for the elderly.
Dr. Okhifun enjoys traveling, meditation, and reading.

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