Alcohol Addiction Counselling

Alcohol addiction counselling is used to treat psychological and cognitive aspects of alcohol addiction. Along with detoxification, counselling is a vital component of rehabilitation.

Detoxification tackles the physical aspects of alcohol dependency and is tackled before alcohol addiction counselling commences. Powerful withdrawal symptoms can occur during detoxification and these need to be overcome before counselling can commence.

Alcoholism: The Difference Between Habit And Addiction

The term ‘alcoholism’ is often thrown around lightly, without a proper understanding of what the disease entails. Most commonly, people confuse a habit with addiction and whilst there are some close links, there is also a clear distinction between the two.

The most notable difference between habit and addiction is that a habit is something that can be stopped. It is usually an activity which is done for enjoyment or during the person’s downtime. People may find it difficult to stop a habit but it can be successfully achieved.

Addiction is much more serious and may be thought of as a habit, over which the person has lost control. People with addictions find it extremely difficult – impossible at times, to make it through a day, or even a few hours without taking part in the activity.

For this reason, addiction can have serious negative impacts on one’s life such as impaired mental health, physical health problems and issues within the social and professional life.

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What Is Addiction Counselling?

The first part of tackling addiction is to detox from the substance, and this difficult time can help you to break free of the physical addiction. However, the underlying psychological reasons that addiction began must be dealt with to achieve recovery. Alcohol addiction counselling takes place once initial detoxification concludes.

Through a variety of different approaches, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy and many others, people struggling with addiction are able to understand their thoughts and emotions and learn how to handle them with new, more effective techniques.

In many cases, addiction comes as a result of trauma or difficulties. These need to be addressed to avoid the patient relapsing after a physical detox has taken place.

Treating The Underlying Causes of Addiction

Talking about your problems with addiction can be confronting but counselling provides you with a safe space where you can explore your issues without judgement with a professional therapist who is trained to help you manage them.

You will have the opportunity to be open and honest about what you want, how you feel and how you would like to move forward. This can often be difficult to do when talking to people close to you who have a lot of involvement in your life. A therapist is independent and can offer practical and unbiased advice which can help you to make decisions on moving forward.

How Does Counselling Help In Recovering From Alcoholism?

Often an addiction to alcohol is developed in order to cope with pain and anxiety caused by traumatic events taking place in the past. Generally, the more traumatic the event, the greater the addiction to alcohol will be. Alcohol addiction counselling attempts to treat this underlying trauma.

Addiction is an illness which spans both physical and mental health and whilst detox can break the physical tolerance and dependence that many addicts build up, counselling can help to deal with the psychological reasons for addiction

If these aspects are not addressed, it can be easy for addiction to take hold once again and relapse is thought to be much higher in patients who do not undergo addiction counselling.

This therapy is often given in a rehab centre, where you will have access to a wide range of treatments. What makes these treatments effective is that each one is designed to tackle different aspects of addiction.

For example, CBT can help you to identify, confront and manage your negative thoughts. As such, alter the behaviours that they cause whereas alternative types of therapy such as art therapy can help you to manage your stress levels.

Alcohol Addiction Counselling Techniques

Addiction is a disease which is complex and detailed and therefore there must be a variety of approaches used when treating the illness. It is important to tackle not only the addiction itself but also any underlying mental health conditions which may have contributed to the development of addiction.

Alcohol addiction counselling is available in many different guises and variations. The most predominant form of alcohol addiction counselling is in the form of traditional psychotherapies.

Psychotherapy is made up of different talking therapies. The most common form of psychotherapy available today is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Psychotherapy attempts to unravel psychological motives for addiction.

Some of the most commonly used techniques in addiction counselling are as follows:

  • Family therapy works well in discussing both how addiction has affected the family unit as well as any issues that may have been involved in the addiction developing. By learning these things, families can work through addiction as a united front
  • Behavioural therapies are designed to help you learn different mays of managing your thoughts and the behaviours associated with them. Whilst this doesn’t tackle how or why you became addicted, it can arm you with techniques to avoid relapse in the future
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy is quite frequently used for many conditions and works particularly well with addiction. The therapy aims to address negative behaviours which stem from negative thoughts and provides the patient with the chance to challenge these and develop new, healthier ways of handling them
  • Hypnotherapy whilst this may be associated with mysticism and magic, it is actually a viable form of therapy which can be beneficial for patients with addictions. Through accessing the subconscious, the therapist will be able to help you to understand emotions which are deeply rooted and therefore, more successfully tackle them
  • Psychodynamic counselling will allow you to explore past experiences that lie in your unconscious mind, which in turn will help you to determine the root cause of your problems. It is not uncommon for patients to be asked to ‘transfer’ their emotions about an item, event or person onto the counsellor
  • Solution-focused brief therapy is based more in the present rather than paying too much attention to events or feelings from the past. This will help you to move forward and make positive behavioural changes. The therapy aims to help you set goals and pay attention to your strengths as a way of achieving these goals

What To Expect From Alcohol Addiction Counselling Sessions

People struggling with addiction may be concerned about the environment in which counselling will take place, but you can rest assured that you will be provided with a safe and non-judgemental space to talk through your problems.

What’s more, there is a level of confidentiality, meaning that whatever you discuss will remain between you and the therapist. The only time that it will be discussed elsewhere is when you are being referred to another professional to help with your problems.

The number of counselling sessions you will have will depend on the type of treatment you are taking. For patients who are taking part in an outpatient program, counselling sessions are likely to be less frequent than those involved with an inpatient treatment program.

There are many group counselling sessions involved in addiction treatment but it is important to feel assured that these sessions will never force you to speak about anything you do not feel comfortable with.

Quite often, group sessions are used as a way to let others know of your progress and celebrate with one another, These sessions are quite often run by people who have also been through addiction and come out the other side.

By attending group sessions, you will also be able to develop a supportive circle of people who understand what you are going through and can be mutual support.

How Counselling Differs From Other Psychotherapies

Psychotherapy is seen to be a much longer course of treatment than counselling. Counselling is a form of therapy which is designed to allow the patient to explore and talk through their feelings and is often done over a short time.

Whereas counselling puts its focus on the patterns of behaviour in an individual, psychotherapies are designed to address more deeply rooted emotional issues.

Different Settings To Alcohol Addiction Counselling

Lifting motives to a conscious level allows addicts to challenge and replace beliefs with healthier alternatives. Negative emotions such as pain, fear and guilt are also tackled during sessions.

Therapists attempt to alter beliefs in positive ways. Many addicts carry around erroneous beliefs picked up during childhood. These beliefs no longer apply or were never valid in the first place. Belief re-evaluation is a major part of psychotherapy. There are many settings to receive psychotherapy which we have outlined below:

1. Individual therapy

Individual therapy is a channel of psychotherapy where patient and therapist discuss addictive behaviours on a one-to-one basis. Individual therapy is focused and intense. It allows addicts to open up to their deepest intimacies surrounding addiction.

Deeply private and traumatic events are allowed to play out and unravel. Once reasons for addictive behaviours are identified addicts are encouraged to reinterpret experiences in healthier and more productive ways.

2. Group therapy

Another form of psychotherapy is group therapy. Rather than receiving therapy on a one-to-one basis with therapist addicts instead take part in group sessions accompanied by peers who are in treatment.

Groups are therapist led although group members share their experiences. Group therapy allows members to learn from each other’s experiences with alcohol addiction. Groups normally consist of 4 to 10 people and sessions last for around an hour.

‘Talking therapies’ may be combined with a number of alternative therapy techniques such as meditation, yoga and art therapy.

3. Residential rehabilitation counselling

Therapy sessions take place within the confines of a rehabilitation centre in a comfortable and secure environment. Issues are communicated in utter confidence. All counsellors are subject to strict professional codes of confidentiality.

Alcohol addiction counselling typically lasts for a week or two following completion of detoxification. Once patients leave our centre they receive after-care treatment, normally for 12 months, following completion of rehabilitation. We encourage patients to engage local Alcoholics Anonymous groups upon their return home.

How To Find Alcohol Addiction Counselling

Many people will make their GP the first port of call for help with addiction but as practitioners of general medicine, they are not able to specialise in this area and will refer you on to someone more adept.

The best way to access support and counselling is to contact an organisation that specialise in addiction recovery. They will be able to give you a detailed assessment which will help you to determine the right kind of treatment for you. In addition to this, they will also be able to provide you with the most suitable programs and help you easily access counselling.

What Is The Role Of The Counsellor In Addiction Recovery?

One of the main roles of an addiction counsellor is to steer the patient towards recovery, but with this result in mind, there are many other roles that the addiction counsellor must fulfil if success is to be achieved.

The counsellor will perform assessments and create evaluations of the patient’s progress so far and may also conduct a drugs test to ensure that sobriety is continued. In addition to this, they may also help a patient to find support groups outside of the counselling environment, therefore giving them additional and ongoing support even after counselling has ended.

The addiction counsellor does not only work with the person who is battling addiction but their family as well. Family therapy is an important part of recovery and the counsellor needs to build a bond with everyone for this to be a success.

To be sure that recovery continues after counselling, an addiction counsellor will help a patient to develop their own relapse plan which will serve as a way of reducing the risk of relapse but also handling it, should it occur.

It is thought that as many as 60% of addiction patients will face relapse at some point but having a plan in place can stop this from turning back into a full-blown addiction.

It is important for a patient who is struggling with addiction to feel safe and comfortable when talking to their counsellor and for this reason, the counsellor is required to create a trusting bond with the patient.

However, it is important that this bond remains professional and understanding the boundaries is also important in being a good addiction counsellor. The counsellor will be attentive and will let the patient know that they are engaged and interested in what is being discussed.

They will also deliver a strong sense of empathy to the patient and show them that they are understanding, providing the patient with education on addiction and the tools to overcome it in the future.

Do I Pick My Own Addiction Counsellor?

When selecting an addiction counsellor, you must consider certain things – you are going to be working closely with this person and so you must be able to trust them and bond with them.

It might be a good idea to talk on the phone to your potential counsellor before meeting them face to face as a way of building an initial rapport. Since you will be sharing very personal aspects of your life with this person, it is important that you feel comfortable with them.

You should trust your gut instinct, quite often we are easily able to judge how well we ‘gel’ with a person the first time we meet them. If you are not happy or completely comfortable with your counsellor, you have every right to search for someone different.

The Importance Of Commitment In Addiction Counselling

You could attend hundreds of counselling sessions, but without your commitment, these sessions would be fruitless. It is important that, when you decide to take treatment for your addiction, you give yourself over completely to the process. Whilst this may be difficult, it can also increase your chances of success.

A counsellor will be able to point you in the direction of recovery, but ultimately it is up to you to make your way there and follow the steps to overcome your addiction. In some cases, patients may have gone into therapy after being coerced by their loved ones but until a full commitment is given, the chances of recovery are slim.

To be successful, you should also ensure that you are honest throughout the process if you have a slip-up or become tempted by your addiction, discuss this opening with your counsellor. Not only does this demonstrate commitment but it can also be a chance for your and the addiction counsellor to find new ways to manage your thoughts and behaviour.

Will My Addiction Counsellor Know If I’m Not Telling The Truth?

Those struggling with addiction may often feel embarrassed and guilty about their problems but it is important to keep in mind that your addiction counsellor will not pass judgement on you.

If you want your treatment to be as successful as possible, it is important to be honest with them, even if this is difficult. There won’t be much that can shock them as they will have worked with many other people going through similar issues.

What’s more, with strict confidentiality in place, you can feel confident that anything you say will remain within the room. If you are not honest with your counsellor, they will likely not know since they do not know you and anything you have done.

To be able to help you to the best of their ability, your addiction counsellor needs to have all of the information, even if it is uncomfortable to discuss.

Facts And Statistics About Alcohol Addiction Counselling

Therapy may be shrouded in a lot of confusion so it can help to understand some of the facts surrounding this type of treatment.

  • Psychotherapy is made up of more than a thousand different forms
  • Taking advantage of therapy does not require a diagnosis of any kind, anyone can access it at any point
  • According to research from the NHS, counselling therapies may be just as effective in treating problems as medications designed for the same purpose
  • More than £1.6 trillion is spent each year around the world on funding mental health care
  • Each year more than one million people are referred by the NHS for counselling therapies
  • A survey conducted by AVIVA found that around 75% of doctors who had given medication to their patients, felt that therapy would have been just as viable an option
  • There is research to suggest that therapies can reduce levels of anxiety by as much as 70%
  • Taking part in aerobic exercise alongside therapy has been proven to have a positive effect on mental health
  • As many as 40% of therapies given in the United Kingdom are based around the concept of CBT

How Much Does Therapy Cost?

The average cost of a counselling session in the United Kingdom is £45, however, this can vary depending on your location, the counsellor and other factors with sessions coming in between £30 and £120 in various parts of the country.

If you are looking to work with a psychologist – a doctor who has trained in mental processes and behaviour in humans, then you can expect to pay a larger fee, on average £91 per session. These people will take a more scientific approach and have generally been through much more intensive and detailed training than a counsellor.

For many people, therapy may be an expensive option, but in reality, it isn’t as costly as you might think when you take into consideration the costs that the therapist has to cover from your fee. In addition to this, there isn’t a price to be put on your health and you may see these fees as an investment in yourself.

What Other Addictions Does Counselling Treat?

When we think of addiction, we often think about drugs and alcohol and whilst counselling will be effective in treating people struggling with these types of addiction, there are also other types of addiction which can benefit from this type of treatment. These include:

  • Sex addiction
  • Love addiction
  • Internet addiction
  • Gaming addiction
  • Gambling addiction
  • Eating disorders
  • Shopping addiction

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