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  • Meeting with an alcohol addiction counselor is an important part of many alcohol abuse treatment programs. While medication and supplements can treat your physical symptoms, counseling helps you focus on the mental health aspect of addiction and recovery.

    A counselor can put together a recovery plan, direct you to support groups and other resources, or give therapy themselves. The job will likely depend on the counselor’s certifications and the terms of your addiction treatment plan.

    Requirements For Full-Time Substance Abuse Counselors

    Alcohol counselors are classified as a type of substance abuse counselor. Substance abuse counselors are certified medical professionals, and alcohol counselors are trained through their career path to offer guidance and therapy services for drug abuse and addiction.


    Specific accreditations, certifications, or licensure for counselors vary by state and program. 

    Alcohol and drug counselors may earn their certifications after getting a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in behavioral health, psychiatry, or psychology, and then complete a set number of hours of social work in AOD (alcohol or other drugs) services. 

    In general, substance abuse counselors should be certified to work in a treatment facility or private practice. When you’re looking at alcohol counselors to meet with, there is a good chance your counselor is a professional whose highest priority is improving your health.

    Benefits Of Meeting With An Alcohol Or Substance Use Counselor

    Alcohol counselors practice behavioral treatment. Behavioral treatment includes learning your own patterns of behavior, and learning skills to change those patterns for the better. 

    It may also include addressing how alcohol use affects your relationship with loved ones and family members.

    Your counselor may want to set up individual or group counseling sessions. Sharing your problems with alcohol with like-minded people can be a helpful form of a support group.

    Behavioral treatment can apply to many forms of substance abuse, dependency, and addiction. Alcohol addiction counseling focuses on habits that can lead to heavy drinking, then tries to find ways to change those habits or replace them with healthier ones.

    Psychotherapy Services

    Forms of psychotherapy can be given by an alcohol counselor. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular treatment method for forms of substance abuse. You may also want to talk about other forms of psychotherapy, such as interpersonal therapy, with your counselor.

    Repeated meetings with your counselor can help you understand each others’ goals. You may also learn more about your relationship with alcohol in the process.

    Alcohol counselors often have different backgrounds, education, and training. Some counselors may be more suited to give you therapy than others.

    Connecting With Other Resources

    Meeting with one type of counselor might not suit every patient’s needs. Behavioral treatment on its own may not always be effective against an alcohol use disorder.

    Alcohol use disorder is often a co-occurring disorder with other health issues, such as depression and ADHD. If you find out this is the case when working with your counselor, you may be referred to another specialist, such as a behavioral disorder counselor.

    Find Substance Abuse Counseling That Works With You

    Establishing a good relationship with your alcohol counselor can help you find resources, set up a support network, and learn life skills. Alcohol and drug counseling is likely given alongside other treatment options for alcohol abuse.

    Treatment for alcohol use disorders can be difficult, but your counselor is there to help you through the process. To find the best counselor and substance use disorder treatment program for yourself or a loved one, talk to your healthcare provider or contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California - Simple Steps - Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California
    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Community Reinforcement Approach Plus Vouchers

    Medically Reviewed by
    Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on June 28, 2021
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