Cognitive Therapy in Groups with Alcoholics

  • Meyer D. Glantz
  • William McCourt


Alcoholics are a notoriously difficult population to treat. Typically, they seek treatment after interpersonal support systems, and economic and employment functioning have been severely disrupted or destroyed, and are, at best, poor candidates for psychotherapy. Their passive dependent personality characteristics and their abstraction-impaired cognitive functioning make them less amenable to most traditional therapeutic interventions. Relapses often involve extended periods of use of an addictive substance that removes the patient from even the possibility of therapeutic contacts; furthermore, relapses often result in the additional deterioration of the drinkers’ circumstances and the destruction of resources necessary for the control of the drinking. Alcohol provides an immediate gratification and the ingestion of even a small amount of alcohol disrupts or inhibits exactly those cognitive functions that are necessary to exercise the self-control necessary to prevent further drinking and eventual inebriation. In addition, alcohol distorts the inebriate’s self-perception and diminishes or even obliterates his or her memory of the period of drunkenness. Further, the use of alcohol is generally socially acceptable and it is a visible often encouraged behavior in many social settings. Despite these discouraging factors, however, a cognitively oriented intervention designed specifically for alcoholics can be successful. Important to this approach is some understanding of the personality and cognitive characteristics of alcoholics.


Cognitive Therapy Problem Drinking Monitoring Assignment Maladaptive Thought Alternative Thought 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meyer D. Glantz
    • 1
  • William McCourt
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Clinical ResearchNational Institute on Drug AbuseRockvilleUSA
  2. 2.Southwood HospitalNorfolkUSA

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