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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
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Updated on September 25, 2023
8 min read

Alcohol Counseling

What Is Alcohol Counseling?

Alcohol counseling is available to anyone struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD). It typically involves a counselor providing guidance and support for those with alcohol-related problems.

Counseling is also available to those close to people suffering from alcohol problems. These include family members, partners, and loved ones.

Recognizing a problem with alcohol is the first step in seeking help and pursuing alcohol counseling. If you think your drinking habits may be unhealthy, alcohol counseling can help pinpoint your problem.


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What is the Role of a Substance Abuse Counselor?

A substance use counselor helps you understand and overcome your problems with alcohol or drug abuse. An alcohol counselor builds trust with you. They provide the support and resources that you need, free of judgment.

Substance abuse counselors teach you to:

Substance abuse counselors assist you throughout recovery, whether it involves immediate intervention or a long-term plan.

What are the Types of Addiction Counseling?

There are resources available to help those with alcohol dependencies confront their problems. Here are some options:

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapy involves working with a health professional. They help identify any behaviors that lead to heavy drinking and assist you in changing them.

A behavioral therapist can help you set reachable goals and work toward them with a treatment plan.

This type of therapy involves:

  • Developing the skills needed to stop or reduce drinking
  • Building a strong social support system
  • Coping with triggers

Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy, also known as neurofeedback therapy, is a technique that aims to train the brain for increased efficiency. This should aid in the awareness and improvement of the mind and body.

During a biofeedback session, a medical professional attaches an electroencephalograph (EEG) to your head to monitor brainwave activity. You can undergo such therapy in a treatment facility.

Biofeedback therapy particularly benefits those with substance dependence and mental health disorders. By engaging in it, you can identify triggers and develop strategies to correct stress-induced psychological responses.

Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy targets various aspects of your health, including:

  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Emotional health
  • Spiritual health

Holistic alcohol rehab uses several types of therapies to treat these areas that alcohol affects. Holistic therapy includes everything from art therapy, horseback riding, nutrition planning, and yoga. These treatment programs vary depending on your needs and the resources available.

Family Therapy

Family counseling is a popular option. This type of therapy involves family members and loved ones in the sessions. Family members can be a big part of the treatment process, allowing them to play an important support role.

A therapist helps you and your family members work through problems that trigger alcohol abuse. Their goal is to help with addiction and improve family relationships.

Alcohol Interventions

Alcohol interventions with family and friends differ from those with a treatment provider. You or a loved one may hold brief interventions with someone with an addiction to alcohol or who tends to binge drink.

This might be a one-time sit-down conversation between you or a regular check-in. Whatever the case, interventions are opportunities for you to share your concerns. You can also offer support before the alcohol problem worsens.

Alcoholics Anonymous 

There are various support groups for alcoholics. However, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most well-known.

AA is a global, community-driven program with regular accountability meetings and group discussions about addiction. AA also uses a 12-step program to help members overcome alcohol addictions.

You can revisit these steps whenever you want. Some of the AA 12-steps include:

  • Admitting to addiction
  • Making conscious choices to change behavior
  • Using prayer and meditation to overcome addictions

Teen Alcohol Counseling

About 4.3 million underage people are binge drinkers15. Binge drinking involves consuming five or more drinks during the same occasion at least once in the last 30 days.

Teen counselors provide young people with the skills they need to stay sober. They also help teens work through their addiction, identify triggers, and understand what leads them to drink.

Treatment options include:

Binge-drinking is a pattern of drinking alcohol that raises blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08 g/dL. BAC levels typically reach .08 g/dL after four drinks for women and five for men in about two hours.14

Binge Drinking, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), December 2019

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How to Choose an Alcohol Counselor

Finding the right counselor is important for your recovery process. Spend some time researching and speaking with a few alcohol counselors. They can address any concerns or questions you have so you can make a more informed choice.

Look for someone you trust, feel comfortable with, and can talk to easily. Taking an active role in your treatment and recovery is the best way to succeed.

Here are some things to consider when choosing an alcohol counselor:

Proper Licensing, Experience, And References

You should find a qualified professional when beginning your recovery. When you speak to a potential counselor, find out about their background.

Here are some questions you can ask them:

  • Are you licensed and certified by the state to practice addiction counseling?
  • How long have you been an alcohol counselor?
  • What other types of counseling do you do?
  • Do you have any references or patient reviews available?

You can also research them online or through the institution they work for. Their reviews, complaints, and recommendations can also help you decide.

Types of Therapy They Use

A good counselor will recommend therapy based on your circumstances and needs. They may even use various types of therapies.

Ask the counselor what type of therapy they plan on using. They can explain the method and goals behind their choice.

Insurance and Alternative Financing Options

Speak with someone at the treatment facility about financing. Many counselors accept insurance, but individual plans vary.

Some cover all or a specific portion of the cost. Others may cover a certain number of treatments or not provide coverage at all.

If you don't have insurance coverage, some programs have a sliding scale fee system. They will give you a price based on your annual income. Facilities may also provide other financing options, such as payment plans.

Your Comfort While Speaking With Them

Your counselor is going to be a large part of your recovery journey. Therefore, you must be able to develop a relationship where you can trust each other.

Trusting your intuition when you first speak with a counselor is good. But keep in mind a trusting relationship takes time to build. You want to find someone you can see yourself working together with.


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Alcohol Counseling FAQs

What are the benefits of alcohol counseling?

When you attend counseling, you receive support from trained professionals who can assist you throughout your journey. Moreover, you may also find solace in the presence of others who are going through similar experiences.

How does alcohol counseling work?

Substance use counseling varies, depending on the type of counseling you seek. Typically, you or your group are assigned a substance use counselor to help identify alcohol dependency and address withdrawal symptoms.

You accomplish these objectives through a series of counseling sessions. This is regardless of whether you pursue individual counseling or group therapy.

How effective is alcohol counseling?

Alcohol counseling with mental health professionals is effective for many people. Research suggests that about one-third of those who receive alcohol counseling show no other symptoms after one year. Meanwhile, others significantly reduce their drinking and report far fewer issues related to alcohol.16

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

Many treatment options are available for alcohol abuse and addiction. These include the following:

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment takes place at a licensed residential treatment center. These programs provide 24/7 comprehensive, structured care in a safe, substance-free housing. It also provides access to medical monitoring.

The first step of an inpatient program is detox. Healthcare providers introduce behavioral therapy and other services to promote recovery after detox.

Inpatient programs typically last 30, 60, or 90 days. Sometimes, they last longer. Additionally, most programs help set up your aftercare once you complete the inpatient treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs provide similar services to inpatient programs. These include:

  • Medical services
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Support groups
  • Other customized therapies

However, in a PHP, you return home to sleep. Some PHP service providers offer food and transportation. However, services vary by program.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient treatment is less intensive than inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. These programs organize your treatment session based on your schedule.

The goal of outpatient treatment is to provide therapy, education, and support in a flexible environment: These programs are often part of aftercare programs once you complete an inpatient or PHP program.

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Healthcare providers may use medications in alcohol addiction treatment. Some medicines can help reduce the negative side effects of detox and withdrawal.

Others can help you reduce cravings and normalize body functions. The most common medications to treat AUD are:

When you combine them with other therapies like behavioral therapy, MAT can help prevent relapse and increase your chance of recovery.

Support Groups

Support groups are peer-led organizations dedicated to helping each other remain sober. They can be the first step towards recovery or part of a long-term aftercare plan.

However, they aren't substitutes for medical treatment. Usually, support groups are free or have a small fee. Common types of support groups include Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery.


Alcohol counseling is an important part of the recovery process. It can help you identify alcohol dependency and address withdrawal symptoms.

Counseling also helps to build a trusting relationship between yourself and your counselor, which is essential for your recovery journey. Your treatment program may include inpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), and support groups.

Ultimately, the path to recovery is personal. So, choose the best alcohol counseling program that fits your needs.

Updated on September 25, 2023
13 sources cited
Updated on September 25, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. “Alcohol Questions and Answers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.

  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).” MedlinePlus, 2019.

  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2020.

  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM–IV and DSM–5.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021.

  5. “Biofeedback Therapy for Substance Use Disorders: Sober College.” Sober College, 2014.

  6. "High-Risk Substance Use Among Youth." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.

  7. "Alcohol use disorder." Mayo Clinic, 2022.

  8. “Alcohol Abuse.” Harvard Health Publishing, 2014.

  9. “Role of Substance Abuse Counselor.” WFU Online Counseling, 2020.

  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2023.

  11. "Binge Drinking." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.

  12. "Alcohol Facts and Statistics." National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2020.

  13. Witkiewitz et al. "Advances in the science and treatment of alcohol use disorder." Science Advances, 2019.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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