Alcohol Counselling Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - Rehab Guide

Alcohol Counselling Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Why CBT is so effective for alcoholism

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of counselling that emphasises a problem-solving approach to you or your loved ones alcohol issues.

CBT has its origins in a branch of academic psychology that focuses on understanding how human learning occurs. This approach views any type of psychopathology, including alcohol dependence, as a maladaptive learning process. Accordingly, the central goal of CBT approaches, which exist for numerous psychiatric disorders, is to design techniques through which maladaptive responses can be “unlearned” and replaced with adaptive responses.

When using CBT’s approach to alcohol counselling the goal is to identify unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts, behaviours and beliefs that may be contributing towards you or your alcohol dependence.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy when used in alcohol counselling is a treatment approach aimed at improving the patients’ cognitive and behavioural skills for changing their drinking behaviour.

CBT encompasses a variety of approaches that despite their core similarities differ in duration, modality, content, and treatment setting. Numerous studies and reviews have ranked CBT among the most effective approaches for treating patients with alcohol issues.

CBT also helps you to identify triggers that can cause you to drink, such as:

  • Every day stress
  • Anxiety disorders
  • High risk environments
  • Depression

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) uses a structured teaching approach for people with severe alcoholism. Patients are given instruction and homework assignments intended to improve their ability to cope with basic living situations, control their behaviour, and change the way they think about drinking. The following are examples of approaches:

Your alcohol counselling will probably include writing a history of your drinking experiences, describing what you consider to be risky situations. You may then be assigned activities to help you cope when exposed to “cues” (places or circumstances that trigger their desire to drink). You may also be given tasks that are designed to replace your drinking habits.

CBT Increases In Self-Confidence

Cognitive-behavioural therapy also tries to restructure thinking that perpetuates drinking, such as feelings of low self-worth. A person with alcohol issues who begins to have feelings of guilt, shame, or sadness concerning their drinking may not know how to handle such feelings and will turn to drinking in order to cope, thus continuing the cycle. If they are taught how to eliminate such self-defeating thoughts and behaviours, their self-confidence will increase. This sense of self-efficacy will enable them to cope with stress-inducing (and relapse-causing) situations without using alcohol. Other cognitive-behavioural methods aim to replace the drinking with another activity, such as relaxation techniques which can be implemented anytime the desire to drink arises.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is perhaps the best-known and most-practiced of the behavioural therapies for alcohol counselling. It is already used in treatment, both explicitly and implicitly, in many of the best alcoholism treatment centres around the world, and is also used by support groups that exist to support those looking for help with their alcohol issues.

The goal of alcohol counselling using CBT can be to teach you or your loved one how to avoid certain triggers and how to cope better effectively with those that are unavoidable or unexpected.

Author 'Jason


Jason has been writing expert articles and blog posts on issues related to addiction and mental health for Rehab Guide. Jason has a BA in Psychology, a Masters of Social Work and is currently working on his doctorate in social work.


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