Types of Alcoholism Therapy
If you find yourself reading this article, it is likely that you are considering trying some of the types of alcoholism therapy, or are worried about your drinking or the drinking of someone you care about. You have likely picked up on some of the signs of alcoholism, and recognize that additional help would be helpful.
If you are seeking help for yourself, know that recognizing and accepting that you need help is a great first step. Should you be looking due to a loved one, know that you are not alone in this.
Just as there is no cookie cutter experience with addiction, there is no “one size fits all” approach for therapy. Different inpatient and outpatient programs have varying approaches that they use. Having a variety of treatment options can be beneficial, so take your time to do research into what options you have.
Naturally, options you have will be impacted by where you live, your insurance coverage, if you can travel for treatment, or if you are able to pay on top of what your insurance can provide.
One thing to note is that some programs may use a combination of the approaches listed below. So do your research, and try to have an open mind when looking at treatment options.
Personal reviews online can be helpful, however try not to base your decision solely on reviews.
Proven types of alcoholism therapy are integral components in comprehensive treatment programs to help drinkers and their families acquire skills that help advance treatment, facilitate the mental and physical healing process, and foster abstinence.
Skills that are learned extend past the treatment period and are designed to be applied throughout life in support of wellness and sobriety.
Following are types of alcoholism therapy that have proven effective in helping problem drinkers and their families begin the path to recovery.
Motivational Enhancement Programs
These programs are designed to raise drinkers’ awareness of the impact alcohol has on their lives, as well as the lives of family, co-workers and society.
They are encouraged to accept responsibility for past actions and make a commitment to change future behavior.
Therapists help alcoholic patients understand and accept the benefits of abstinence, review treatment options, and design a treatment plan to which they will commit.
If you visit an alcohol treatment center, an interventionist may be part of the team that helps encourage a person to get help for themselves or for someone else.
The goal is to identify the problem and work toward resolving it through a treatment plan. By having others commit their time and energy to pressing a loved one about getting help, the perspective of this pressure can have a deep impact on addictive behavior.
This support network can end up being very beneficial throughout its participants’ recovery process as they are able to talk freely about their fears and concerns.
Therapy consists of a professional helping an individual understand why they use substances and how specifically alcohol affects them. This helps to eliminate false reasons for drinking and replace them with concretely based decisions not to drink at all.
Cognitive-Behavioral Coping-Skills Therapy
Comprised of a group of therapeutic approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy helps alcohol-dependent people acquire skills to recognize, cope and change problem-drinking behaviors.
By understanding what needs are filled by drinking, a therapist is able to work with an alcoholic patient to find new ways to address needs that don’t include drinking — and modify psychological dependence on the drug.
During therapy sessions, patients are taught essential coping skills to:
- Recognize what triggers the urge to drink
- Manage negative moods and emotional vulnerabilities
- Change social outlets and friendships to focus on something other than drinking
12-Step Facilitation Therapy
This peer-support approach encourages people to become involved with a 12-step or related program that complements professionally supervised therapy.
Are typically recommended with all forms of alcoholism therapy because they provide alcohol-dependent individuals with an encouraging, supportive environment.
Support group meetings focus on abstinence and fosters each individual’s physical, mental and spiritual health.
Behavioral Couples Therapy
This approach combines a focus on alcoholism recovery with efforts to repair and improve relationships. For the therapy to be effective, both partners must be committed to the relationship and want to strengthen it.
Only one spouse should be alcohol dependent for the therapy to have impact. If both couples are alcoholics, different strategies need to be deployed so couples are less likely to relapse together.
Therapy includes providing the non-dependent partner with training on communication and support strategies that facilitate the advancement of treatment and sobriety. An integral component of couples therapy involves developing a “contract” agreeing that:
- The alcoholic-dependent partner will commit to abstinence
- The non-dependent partner will offer continual support and reinforcement
- Neither partner will discuss past addictive behavior and its consequences
- Neither partner will discuss the future and misuse outside of the therapy sessions
The therapy provides a safe environment for partners to discuss their needs and expectations. Both partners must be willing to acknowledge that change will occur over time, but long-term sobriety is still achievable.
A supportive non-dependent partner can make recovery easier by providing the alcoholic partner with: continuous reassurance of commitment support increased accountability systems such as family members or fellow group participants calling the therapist when there are clinical concerns in regards to either partner
Combining this with cognitive behavioral therapy components, couples therapy is able to strengthen relationships and provide opportunities for developing better coping mechanisms.
Behavioral couples therapy helps alcoholics find new ways to cope with negative emotions that are usually covered up through drinking. This method has shown positive results for treating alcoholism in many cases, although it does require both spouses to take part in the sessions.
Are You Looking for the Ideal Treatment for You or Your Loved One?
Alcoholism may not be easy to beat, but with the support of the alcoholic’s family and the community, it is very much achievable. Contact a treatment provider and they can help you determine the right type of treatment for you or your loved one.
I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. I have since settled in North Carolina. I have experience working with various stages of addiction, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, trauma, stages of life concerns and relationship concerns.
I tend to use a person-centered approach which simply means that I meet you where you are and work collaboratively to help you identify and work towards accomplishing goals. I will often pull from CBT when appropriate. I do encourage use of mindfulness and meditation and practice these skills in my own life. I believe in treating everyone with respect, sensitivity and compassion.
I recognize that reaching out for help is hard and commend you for taking the first step. We have professionals available who would be happy to help you move closer to reaching your goals related to your drinking concerns. You may reach these professionals by calling 877-322-2694.