Does alcohol counseling online work?
When you need to stop drinking, can you stop by seeking alcohol counseling online? Are Skype and online chat rooms a legitimate substitute for in-person alcohol counseling and rehab?
The short answer to it all seems to be no.
Treatment for alcoholism has been established over years of evidence-based study results to determine what helps addicted individuals get clean and sober. It does not seem likely that talking on a computer can substitute for time spent away from the environment in which you constantly drank.
True accountability to stay substance-free that is worked into every formal, in-person treatment program is absent when participating in alcohol counseling online. 24 hour monitoring during an inpatient program can not be a part of online alcohol counseling.
One-on-one counseling is a vital part of the substance abuse treatment process. The assistance of a trained counselor helps a newly sober person identify what lead to alcohol use, to abuse or addiction, and now to rehab. It takes the therapeutic alliance for an alcoholic to integrate the tools that will sustain a life of recovery.
The advantages of a therapeutic process group are also lost when alcohol counseling is done online. Peer feedback forces difficult realizations to surface, providing an irreplaceable group therapy experience.
Alcoholics need other alcoholics. While talking online and conversing through Skype can keep people in contact, the human interaction piece is also lost. Camaraderie in rehab builds the start of an alcoholic’s sober community.
Online alcohol counseling may be useful as a method of continued care after formal inpatient treatment, and even an outpatient program. For a certain part of the population, mainly those who need to return to work, or who have a family to tend to, online alcohol counseling can be helpful for continued support, but it should not be used in place of formal treatment for alcohol addiction.
photo credit: Life Mental Health