The road to sobriety is filled with both physiological and psychological barriers, which must be overcome to prevent relapse. Whilst many people think of alcoholism as a largely physiological affair, physical addiction is only half of the picture. Alcohol counsellors focus on the psychological aspects of alcoholism, including the beliefs and circumstances which lead people to alcohol. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you have to choose an alcohol rehab program which understands the importance of these factors.
An Alcohol counsellor often focuses on the psychological causes of alcoholism as opposed to the physical effects. The most common psychological causes of alcohol abuse are peer pressure, escapism, desire to experiment and a belief that alcohols can solve problems. Physical detox can remove the body’s dependence on the substance, but these causes require a more detailed and personalised approach. Without proper psychological support, relapse is much more common.
There are many different approaches to most psychological problems, and alcoholism is no different. Some psychologists believe that there is a genetic pre-disposition to addiction within some people, and this view is espoused by the 12 step program. Alcohol counsellors based on this idea are concerned with recognition of the problem, and you or your loved one would be encouraged to admit they are powerless over their condition. The focus is then shifted to the person’s way of life, and the factors which should be altered to correct the issue.
Other psychologists believe that alcoholism is a learned social behaviour, or a symptom of poor coping strategies. This theory states that negative thought patterns, social influence and learned coping mechanisms are responsible for alcoholism. The resulting alcohol counsellor then focuses on replacing these assumptions, thought patterns and coping mechanisms with healthier alternatives. Many alcohol rehab facilities use this idea in their treatment programs.
Another school of thought believes that alcoholism is a choice, and this directly opposes the “disease” theory of addiction used by the 12 step program. An Alcohol counsellor working on this theory is relatively similar to the learned social behaviour theory, in that it focuses on replacing the harmful thought patterns with more self-affirming, positive ideas. Alcohol rehab programs incorporating this idea empower the individual, and explain that they have the ability to control their own behaviour.
The Basic Principles Alcohol Counsellors Employ
Regardless of which theory you prefer, the basic principles of counselling are the same across methodologies. The main idea is that addiction can be controlled by management of the individual’s immediate environment and how they respond to potential triggers for their alcohol use. Alcohol detox involves the management of symptoms relating to the withdrawal of a chemical substance, and alcohol counselling addresses the deeper issues which led to the initial use of the substance, which are also the causes of relapses. All alcohol rehab centres should therefore use a combined approach to best tackle addiction.
Alcohol counselling is a vital component of any rehabilitation program, and you should consider the options carefully before making a decision. If you are unsure about which type of program is most suitable for you or your loved one, get in touch for some free advice. We also offer telephone counselling to help with alcoholism (this service has an associated fee). Advice on the options for alcohol rehab and how they suit your specific needs is completely free, so get in touch and see what help I can offer you!