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Non-counselling interventions


Non-counselling intervention are other services that may be helpful to you in changing your drinking pattern. Non-counselling interventions are provided by care staff in community based and other services, support staff, care workers, project workers, etc.

Some terms in this area include the following:

  • Advocacy – Where a professional speaks or acts on your behalf. For example, to help you claim entitlements or access services.
  • Alcohol education and awareness and mental health education
  • Motivational interviewing –A technique to increase your motivation to change through a collaborative conversation to strengthen a person’s own motivation for and commitment to change & addresses the common problem of being unsure or ambivalent about change.
  • Brief intervention – A short, evidence-based, structured conversation with a person that seeks in a non-confrontational way, to motivate and support the person to think about and/or plan behaviour change and possibly referral by a non-alcohol specialist such as a youth worker to an alcohol/drug service.
  • Key working – Key working is a process undertaken by the key worker to ensure the delivery and ongoing review of the care plan. A key worker helps you to coordinate your care across different services (health, mental health, employment, education, social welfare, financial resources, recreation, support organisations).
  • Case management – A professional helps to manage all the parts of your treatment, including advocacy, assessment, planning, communication, education, and access to services.
  • Community reinforcement approach – Working with a therapist and the people around you to increase your motivation and change your lifestyle so that the benefits of living without alcohol become more rewarding than carrying on drinking.
  • Detox planning and support
  • Controlled drinking is a form of harm reduction & the best single predictor of controlled drinking vs. abstinent outcomes is determined by the severity of problem drinking.
  • Meditation
  • Onward referral – Putting you in contact with other helpful services
  • Outreach contact is frequently made by workers with people who are sometimes hard to reach such as the homeless population
  • Planning and preparation for residential treatment
  • Relapse prevention advice and support

Residential vs non residential treatment

Non-residential treatment

Non-residential treatment is treatment where you can live at home during you treatment. This may be the best option if it is hard for you to leave the demands or commitments of your life behind, for example, work or family commitments, or if you don’t want to have residential treatment.

As part of non residential treatment you can benefit from support groups, education, and individual and group therapy, while being able to enjoy the privacy and support that staying at home offers. Non residential treatment is offered at private treatment centres (where you will have to pay) and within the public treatment system (no cost). 

Residential treatment

With a residential programme you stay in a treatment centre during your treatment programme. Residential programmes typically last 28 days, though some last longer. The time depends on the level of treatment that is required.

Residential programs can help with detox and withdrawal and are often successful for those for people who find they need more support than non-residential programmes can give.

A residential facility offers a structured schedule that offers safety, education, support and therapy, along with the supervision of a trained staff. It is a useful way to pause other aspects of your daily life to focus on this issue and how it fits into the rest of your life. It is also useful to break habits associated with your day-to-day routine, which support continued problematic drinking.

Different treatment centres have different ways of providing treatment. There are a wide variety of programs available to help you come to terms with your drinking and associated harms, so you should be able to find a treatment programme that suits your individual situation.

For this reason, it’s important to take time to research your options before deciding which treatment program is best for you.

Peer support

Peer support is a structured relationship in which people with similar problems meet to give each other emotional support.

Examples of peer support are self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, and online forums.

It's highly recommended that people undertaking a counselling treatment programme would attend peer support.


Detoxification (or detox) means giving medical support to help a person stop using alcohol.

Medicine may be needed if a person suffers physical withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, such as tremors (shaking), seizures (fits) or hallucinations.

For example, sedatives such as benzodiazepine can be given to help with alcohol withdrawal seizures.

For tremors, the sedative lorazepam or the antipsychotic drug haloperidol may be given. Symptoms normally last about 3 days.

Stopping alcohol suddenly without medication can be dangerous of you have severe withdrawal symptoms.

If you need detox (also called medically assisted withdrawal) you will be admitted to hospital or to an alcohol treatment centre that offers detox, as you will need to be carefully assessed and monitored during withdrawal.

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