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Counselling involves talking with a counsellor with expertise in working with people with substance misuse, who can help you to understand your drinking and support you in addressing the difficulties you may be facing.

The counsellor will help you to look at how you use alcohol and how this relates to:

  • Your personality
  • Your ways of thinking
  • Your emotional experiences

Counselling can help you to explore how you feel about your circumstances and why you feel this way, including looking back on your life and earlier life experiences to see how the current issue developed.

Counselling is a structured way of talking about:

  • What has been happening
  • How you feel about it
  • What you can do about it

Seeing a counsellor can be a great source of help and support. You may also benefit from combining counselling with other treatments, like an alcohol treatment programme or support group.

There are many different types of counselling, for example, person-centred theory, behaviourist approaches, humanistic approaches, psychodynamic approaches and cognitive behavioural approaches.

All types of counselling are based on building trust and understanding between yourself and the counsellor to guide you through any issues you are facing. The counsellor will keep professional boundaries in place to increase the level of safety and keep counselling separate from day-to-day experience outside of your sessions.

If you feel that a particular approach is not working well for you after a time, don’t be afraid to try a different counsellor or type of counselling

Is counselling right for me?

Counselling may be helpful for you if:

  1. You are ready to engage in a process of reflection on your life and commit to change.
  2. You and your therapist agree that the time is right for you to start counselling.
  3. You are interested in undertaking a counselling treatment programme.
  4. You have had traumatic experiences that need attention
  5. You have suffered a bereavement and need help managing your grief
  6. You have mental health issue
  7. You have ever had thoughts of self harm
  8. You have been a victim of crime or abuse


Other treatments:

  • Residential and non-residential treatment programmes
  • Peer and group support
  • Detox

Will treatment work for me?

Self-help for problem drinking

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Where to get help

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