Why Alcohol Counselling?

Most experts in the field agree that alcohol addiction, dependence and overuse are physical and psychological problems. Alcohol counselling is an important part of recovery.

While we might feel the physical withdrawal symptoms most keenly, recovering your body is only temporary if your mind doesn’t follow suit.

There are several ways to improve your mental health if years of drinking too much have left you feeling low, depressed or anxious. These include exercise, improved diet, vitamin supplements and alcohol counselling.


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online counselling session

What is Alcohol Counselling?

There are many kinds of therapy for alcohol-related problems. Below are listed some of the most common therapies used to help people with their drinking.

CBT Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

CBT is the therapy used by most alcohol counsellors in the UK. The NHS recommends it as the best way to treat behaviour-related mental health issues.

CBT is usually done one-to-one and focuses on how our thoughts control how we see the world. Our own beliefs decide how we experience everything in our lives.

For example, a BBQ with friends. One person might see it as a time to get drunk, but another may be thinking about the food or time to socialize with people they like. If the thing you are focused on – like alcohol – is making you unhappy, then CBT can help you change these thought patterns.

It works by identifying the underlying reason why you associate a get-together with drinking. The core belief may be that alcohol makes socializing easier, or you are less anxious when you drink.

Whichever it is, your counsellor will help you to understand why you believe this and how you can change that to improve your life.

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This type of therapy is ideal for those who think their alcohol use might be influenced by another mental health problem. Conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD are commonly linked to alcohol misuse because of how it affects the neurotransmitters in your brain.

For those with this kind of dual issue, both must be treated before the person can recover.

Motivational Interviewing

One of the most pragmatic approaches to alcohol counselling MI is all about goals and self-motivation. MI is like an intervention, except it is usually requested by the person themselves. The counsellor will help with choosing goals and the path to achieving them.  Motivational interviewing is normally combined with other kinds of alcohol therapy to support and guide those struggling with denial, willpower and lack of support network. Triggers can be a big part of relapsing into drinking. Motivational interviewing can help you to understand and deal with these triggers and find a way to cope.

Group Therapy

Working in groups for therapy is one of the best-known methods of treating alcoholism. This was developed by the AA (alcoholics anonymous) and has been a cornerstone of addiction treatment for decades.

Although it has an excellent track record, it isn’t right for everyone. This kind of alcohol counselling is more useful for those with serious alcohol addiction and less suited to those looking to cut down or stop excessive drinking.

If you are looking for group therapy, then the 12-step program is one of the best known. It is effective and offers long-term goals and a great new sober social circle.

Person-centred therapy

An interesting aspect of therapy is the approach of Person-centred therapy (PCT). It would not be too much of a stretch to suggest that PCT has no particular approach, and that can leave plenty of room for all of the previously mentioned practices to cross over.

It can be used together in order for you to put together a formula that speaks to you personally.

For example, if you feel that you benefit from CBT and Holistic therapies, then the counsellor can help facilitate such a formula for going forward. This may not work for all, and some may be put off by the crossing over of different practices that is encouraged with PCT.

However, PCT supports the wants and needs of the person. If you want to talk about the possible reasons behind your use of alcohol, then the session will be about that. If you want to explore CBT in a session, then it will be relevant to CBT etc.

This allows you to direct the proceedings of the sessions and encourage perseverance throughout your recovery.

There are many key concepts in the PCT approach. Here are the 3 core concepts –

1- Empathic understanding: the counsellor trying to understand the client’s point of view.

2- Congruence: a counsellor is a genuine person.

3- Unconditional positive regard: the counsellor being non-judgemental.

The most important part of person-centred therapy is understanding that you are the one with the answers to your own experiences. As Carl Rodgers once said, one of the founding fathers of PCT – “As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves.”

So, if none of the therapies that have been mentioned is appealing to you, then there is also the approach of the non-approach. This is PCT. The therapy has the main aim of providing space to talk about you and your issues with alcohol.

Two mixed age couples walking on a countryside path during family camping adventure, front view

Holistic Therapy

Therapy for alcohol problems is more than talking. It is taking new and better actions instead.

One problem many people have when cutting down on or stopping drinking is what to do instead. When much of your social and recreational time has been spent drinking, it is hard to find new, better ways to spend time.

A counsellor will help you to choose or restart hobbies and interests that don’t involve drinking. Investing yourself in healthier pastimes will help enormously in your motivation and social life. Exercise, diet, art, music, nature and supplements are all natural antidepressants and low mood is a very common reason and result of drinking too much.


A far cry from its image as magic real hypnotherapy is a highly effective method of habit-breaking treatment.

You will experience a relaxed and peaceful state where your therapist will help you understand your issues and find the motivation to stop drinking.

In habit-based problems such as drinking, hypnotherapy can help by providing suggestions to improve your thinking and behaviour.

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Private Alcohol Counselling

The NHS does offer some people alcohol counselling, but you are more likely to be referred to a form of group therapy or face a long wait.

Private alcohol counselling can be cost-effective, and when done online, you can avoid travelling and feel comfortable in your own space. Some people feel unsure about online counselling, but it holds several advantages.

  • Get specialist help for your specific problem
  • No need to travel
  • Relaxed atmosphere in your own space
  • Helps with social anxiety
  • Can fit around a busy schedule

Desistal Alcohol Counsellors

You will get the most out of counselling if you choose someone who specializes in your problem. Many counsellors can treat the mental health issues you have as well as addiction, but it is best to choose someone with experience in alcohol problems.

All our counsellors are experienced in alcohol-related disorders and are members of the British Psychological Society (BPS), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BaCP) and National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH).

They are extremely passionate and dedicated to helping people break free from the grip of life-limiting patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour and overcome some of their biggest struggles, including addictions, anxiety disorders, depression, grief and loss, trauma, and relationship problems and more. They help clients focus on life goals and their well-being, see life in a more positive way, and accept negative events and feelings so that they are more prepared for life with an increased sense of well-being.