Online therapy

Info for professionals

What is lookatyourdrinking.com?
Staff
Registration and course of treatment
Referrals to physicians or mental-health workers
Research Study
Contact
Who are suitable candidates?
Anonymity and client data

What is lookatyourdrinking.com?

lookatyourdrinking.com is an alcohol information website with an online therapy programme. It is aimed at people who would like to learn more about their alcohol use as well as those who would like assistance in changing their drinking habits.

The online therapy is a structured treatment programme in which client and therapist communicate personally via the Internet. The duration of the treatment is between 12 and 16 weeks.
One of the programme's advantages over face-to-face treatment is anonymity and the fact that the client can be helped in their own environment and at a time of their own choosing.

The aim of the online therapy programme is to help clients to change their drinking habits and if necessary to get treatment. The ultimate goal is to cut down or quit drinking.

The programme uses psycho-education and cognitive restructuring. The method underlying the programme is based on principles from the bio–psychosocial model and cognitive behaviour therapy. The method is not new, and has been used for years in conventional addiction treatment.

A study of the literature we carried out has shown cognitive behavioural interventions to be effective in online therapy.

Staff

The therapy is done by professional therapists with experience in addiction. 

The personalised report on a client's drinking habits is arrived at by a team of therapists, an addiction-specialised physician and a psychologist (treatment coordinator). The therapist can ask for expert advice from the physician or psychologist during the entire course of therapy.

Registration and course of treatment

REGISTRATION:
Anyone at least 18 years of age may register to take part. The treatment consists of two parts, part 1 and part 2. 

TREATMENT PART 1:
The first phase of the online treatment analyses current drinking habits, without any commitment to change. At the end of part 1, a personalised report on the client's drinking is provided. At this stage, the client decides if he or she wishes to continue to part 2 of the online therapy programme. If online therapy turns out to be an inappropriate approach, we will make recommendations regarding other suitable services for help and support. However, it remains the responsibility of the client to access alternative forms of care. 

TREATMENT PART 2:
If, after completing part 1, the client specifically wishes to change his or her drinking habits, he or she can continue with the second part of the treatment with the same therapist. At the beginning of part 2, the client sets a concrete goal with regard to their alcohol use.
 
FOLLOW-UP CARE:
The client can log in and use their personal data for six months after finishing the programme. He or she can also keep a log of their alcohol use for six months. 
Two follow-up contacts determine how the client’s drinking behaviour has developed and provide data for our study of the effectiveness of our online programme.

Referrals to physicians or mental-health workers

Where information provided by the client gives cause for concern, they will be advised to go to their doctor/GP for a physical examination for possible damage from alcohol use. The therapist can provide a letter for the doctor, which explains the programme. This letter will not contain any personal information as participants remain anonymous to us.

In principle, the online therapy programme complements other treatment or therapy for psycho-social problems. We do not go deeply into the possible causes of drinking, but focus on the current situation and how it can be changed. 

Research Study

The online therapy programme was borne from the findings of a literature study conducted by an institute in the Netherlands (TACTUS Addiction Resource and Treatment Institute) and their extensive practical experience in offering this service. A randomised controlled trial is currently underway at this institute, in which online therapy is being compared with face-to-face therapy.

Contact

If you have questions about the programme, please contact us on:  
Tel 0845 604 4273.

Who are suitable candidates?

The programme is suitable for any adult wishing to learn more about their drinking patterns. The programme is also suitable for individuals who have drunk excessively in the past and wish to use the programme as part of their relapse prevention strategy. 

A small investment of time is required to complete the homework assignments. These include a daily log of alcohol consumption. Clients with moderate to severe memory difficulties may find this aspect of the programme challenging.

Clients who are physically dependent on alcohol may find part 1 of the programme useful prior to seeking professional medical help. We do not encourage physically dependent drinkers to undertake part 2 of the programme due to the risk of withdrawals and alcoholic fits which can occur when drinking is reduced or stopped without medical supervision.

Anonymity and client files

Communication between therapist and client takes place via the website, with a code name and password; there is no e-mail involved. File information is recorded digitally under the client’s log-in code. Only the client him- or herself may give up anonymity. Files are secure and are stored in digital form for fifteen years (in accordance with British law). Nothing from the file may be provided to third parties without the participant’s permission.