10 Types of Alcoholism Therapy and How They Help

Alcoholism is a deep-rooted illness that needs professional help to heal from. We’ve put together common evidence-based therapies that you or a loved one battling dependence from this substance is likely to encounter in a rehab center, and how effective they are in alcohol addiction recovery.

Types of Alcoholism Therapy and How They Help


  • Therapy Options for Alcohol Addiction (And Their Benefits)
      • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
      • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
      • Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)
      • Psychodynamic Therapy
      • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
      • Art and Music Therapy
      • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
      • Yoga and Meditation Therapy
      • Family Therapy
      • Contingency Management Therapy
  • Overcoming Alcohol Dependence With Therapy

Therapy Options for Alcohol Addiction (And Their Benefits)

Everyone’s experience with alcohol addiction is different. Fortunately, there are a variety of alcoholism therapy interventions designed to address a person’s individual needs and struggles with this substance. They include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. The main goal of CBT is to identify connections between an individual’s dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to alcohol dependence. 

CBT will help you:

  • Change the negative thinking patterns and harmful beliefs that drive you to abuse alcohol and make you feel too powerless to quit
  • Adopt practical behavioral coping skills and strategies to deal with alcohol abuse triggers

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy is also a type of talk therapy that focuses on helping you accept your circumstance and giving you control over intense emotions that make you resort to alcohol as your escape. 

DBT will help you: 

  • Achieve a sense of acceptance and empower you to set affirmations about your recovery rather than constantly judging yourself for struggling with the alcohol dependence
  • Build healthy coping skills to manage alcohol cravings and avoid giving in to emotional triggers

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT)

Rational emotive behavior therapy also falls under talk therapy. Its main purpose is to identify your irrational thoughts and beliefs (making you abuse alcohol) originating from a negative life event or unfortunate circumstance you experienced. 

REBT sessions will help you: 

  • Get rid of these irrational perspectives and replace them with healthy ones
  • Improve your emotional wellbeing, increasing your chances of responding to triggers in a healthy way  

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is an in-depth form of talk therapy. It involves you engaging in deep self-reflection to uncover any motives (that you weren’t consciously aware of) contributing to your current entrapment with alcohol abuse. 

This therapy will help you:

  • Work through deep-seated emotions, reducing your chances of turning to alcohol each time you are triggered

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is primarily focused on helping you develop an internal motivation to fight alcohol dependence and be a better person.

This therapy will help you:

  • Develop a strong willingness to commit to your sobriety goals
  • Stay positive throughout your recovery journey
  • Get back on your change process (instead of giving up) in the event of a relapse

Art and Music Therapy

Art and music therapy is used as a complementary treatment for alcoholism, meaning it's highly effective when used alongside other therapies, such as CBT.

Throughout this therapy, you’ll engage in different art and music activities. 

Art and music therapy will help you: 

  • Find an outlet to express your negative emotions, rather than bottling them and turning to alcohol for relief
  • Achieve more self-confidence and esteem, which will make you optimistic about your recovery
  • Keep your mind engaged in creative processes instead of focusing on the destructive urges

12-Step Facilitation Therapy

The 12 step facilitation therapy involves working on 12 alcohol recovery steps to advance your healing from alcohol addiction. You’ll go through these 12 steps within a group setting and with the guidance of a therapist. 

This therapy will help you:

  • Overcome feelings of hopelessness by knowing that you aren’t the only one fighting for alcohol abstinence
  • Make positive behavioral changes that will enable you to stick to your sobriety goals  
  • Remain in treatment since you’ll have others to hold you accountable

Yoga and Meditation Therapy

Yoga and meditation therapy is also used alongside treatments such as DBT and CBT. 

This therapy will help you:

  • Focus your mind on the present moment (your recovery) and not on the fears of the future or worries of past mistakes (which can trigger alcohol relapse episodes).

Family Therapy

Family therapy seeks to address deep-rooted family issues fueling a family member’s addiction. During therapy, the individual battling alcohol dependence and family members are present. 

This therapy will help you:

  • Develop positive interactions with your family and gain their support as you embark on recovery.
  • Adopt healthy coping mechanisms to avoid triggers within the family environment.

Contingency Management Therapy

Contingency management therapy is rooted in using rewards to encourage positive behaviors. The therapist will, on different occasions, give you tokens of appreciation (which you’ll have agreed on) for not taking alcohol while in treatment. 

Contingency management therapy will help you embrace alcohol abstinence and encourage you to continue treatment.

Overcoming Alcohol Dependence With Therapy

Similar to other addictions, alcohol addiction is treatable. Alcoholism asks for rehabilitation to resolve the underlying factors causing alcohol dependence. With rehab, there is hope for healing and long-term recovery from this addiction. 

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