Sessions with a psychologist help in all stages of alcoholism recovery:
Working with a Therapist on Alcohol Issues
A small percentage of alcoholics seem capable of overcoming the disease without intervention and professional treatment, but the vast majority will require comprehensive and long lasting professional treatment to achieve abstinence and an enduring future of sobriety.
Alcoholism presents differently within every alcoholic conceding to the need for treatment, and no one form of therapy or intervention offers effective recovery assistance to all. The best alcohol treatment programs and alcohol rehab facilities will employ a wide and varied therapeutic programming to give recovering alcoholics the best chance at successful sobriety and relapse avoidance. Therapies will include 12 steps meetings, peer support groups, disease education, and other peripheral programming; but one constant of treatment at nearly all facilities is corresponding and intensive therapy with a psychologist.
Understand Why You Drink
Working one on one with a psychologist versed in the treatment and problems of alcoholism, recovering patients can better understand their compulsion to use and develop strategies to deal with relapse and temptation. Continuing to work with a psychologist throughout long term recovery allows newly sober alcoholics to continue to manage and modify a relapse prevention plan as needed to best represent the emerging realities and temptations as experienced.
A psychologist can offer beneficial treatment advice before the start of intensive alcohol therapy or rehab, especially during the intensive days of initial sobriety, and throughout the long period of intermediate sobriety.
Working with a Psychologist Before Intensive Alcoholism Treatment
Although less commonly observed, some alcoholics will work with a psychologist even before the beginning of an intensive period of therapy and before alcohol abstinence is achieved. Meetings with a psychologist often occur at the insistence of concerned family and friends, and a psychologist can help the alcoholic to better understand the disease and progression of symptoms, to better understand the need for intensive treatment, and help families to cope with the symptoms of abuse.
Experts in the field of addiction, a psychologist can diagnose the severity of the alcoholism, and assist the individual and family in selecting the most appropriate intensity of treatment.
Since alcoholics almost invariably respond better to treatment earlier into the progression of the disease, sessions with a psychologist can prove invaluable if they can induce an acceptance of treatment.
Working with a Psychologist During Intensive Alcohol Treatment or Alcohol Rehab
Most alcoholics work with a psychologist most intensively during the initial weeks of sobriety, often during a more comprehensive program of alcohol rehab. Psychologists help newly recovering alcoholics to better understand the disease and the symptoms of early sobriety, and also work with patients to discover emotional or psychological problems that may contribute to an inclination to use and abuse alcohol.
The behaviors of alcoholism always create emotions of pain, sadness and guilt that resonate throughout the family, and since the family offers essential support to the newly recovering addict; whole family sessions with a psychologist work to heal some of the divisions created through alcohol abuse behaviors. Psychologists can educate concerned family of the best ways they can support the recovering alcoholic throughout the initial months of sobriety.
Psychologists working with recovering alcoholics during alcohol rehab also help alcoholics to self discover the triggers to use and abuse, and to develop a unique alcohol relapse prevention plan.
Additionally, because so many alcoholics suffer from co occurring psychiatric conditions, (often undiagnosed) psychologists are in a unique position to diagnose these complications to recovery, and to offer initial intervention and treatment to any co occurring psychiatric complications.
Aftercare with a Psychologist
An essential document in the battle against temptation, a relapse prevention plan will need modification in response to the changing realities of sobriety. By continuing to work with a psychologist even after alcohol rehab, recovering alcoholics have a better chance of maintaining sobriety.
Additionally, because such a great percentage of recovering alcoholics will relapse to some degree, continuing therapeutic involvement with a psychologist gives these newly relapsed patients an opportunity to work against continuing abuse with an already trusted therapeutic advisor. Ideally a slip or relapse is used as a learning experience against future problems, and individual sessions with a psychologist can help the recovering addict to understand why the relapse occurred, and work to develop strategies against the future use and abuse of alcohol.
Alcohol Treatment with a Psychologist as a Part of More Comprehensive Alcohol Rehab Treatment
Although individual sessions with a psychologist are therapeutically valuable, most patients benefit most when they are exposed to a wide and varied program of therapies and treatments. Hopefully, at least one segment of rehab programming will resonate significantly with all who participate, and each other therapeutic intervention will at the very least offer additional knowledge and strategies against relapse and continuing abuse.
The only reason that individual sessions with a psychologist are ever excluded from a comprehensive rehab programming is cost, as all addictions professionals recognize the significant contribution to recovery made when alcoholics work intensely and in one on one session with an experienced addictions psychologist.
It's probably not the only therapy needed, but working with a psychologist during an alcohol treatment program is beneficial at each stage in the recovery process; and the level and intensity of private sessions should be a consideration when evaluating the relative merits of different alcohol rehab facilities.
Page last updated 23/05/2014