Teen Alcoholism Therapist Career Guide

Overview & Job Duties

A teen alcoholism therapist takes necessary measures for helping young adults through the detoxification process during recovery from alcohol addiction. Teens can become addicted to alcohol for a variety of reasons: peer pressure, learned behavior from alcoholic parents, depression and other mental illnesses, and a number of other factors. Because breaking an addiction is an especially hard task, many people turn to therapists to help them through this difficult time. In this instance, counselors use several different therapy techniques to treat young adults who are unable to control their urge to consume alcohol. Therapists educate teens on the dangers alcohol consumption poses not only on their development, but on their long-term health as well. By taking on the responsibility of helping youths change their lifestyles for better health, therapists help alcoholic teenagers lead better lives and become contributing members of their society.

There are a variety of alcohol addiction treatment options available to address the physical and psychological effects of the disease. The first step therapists must take is to acquire as much information about their patients as they can from family, friends, teachers, and others who know the teenager and therefore might have some insight into why the teen turned to alcohol in the first place. From there, the therapist works to discover the discrepancy in the patient’s routine life functions and behaviors to ensure he or she can design a treatment plan that is best suited to a patient’s unique situation and needs.

Because no two individuals have exactly the same condition and reasons for developing alcoholism, there is no single treatment which applies to all cases. Therapists must take each client on a case by case basis. However, there are some general similarities in every instance; the treatment process typically follows a pattern of intervention, enrollment in a residential or outpatient program, counseling, medication (if necessary), nutrition management, and ongoing psychological and emotional support.

Job Outlook

Teen alcoholism therapists are classified as substance abuse counselors, and as such they can be found in a variety of settings, most often in residential treatment facilities, outpatient clinics, welfare departments, community outreach programs, hospitals, and healthcare centers. Therapists are usually responsible for leading cessation seminars and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, all of which are conducted in group settings so that recovering alcoholics can share their feelings and experiences, as well as offer and receive support. Therapists also frequently hold one-on-one sessions with clients in a more traditional therapy setting.


In 2012, the average annual salary for teen alcoholism therapists was $48,000 (indeed.com).

Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming a teen alcoholism therapist is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology with coursework including adolescent therapy, social work, and substance abuse counseling. From there, graduates typically go on to a master’s degree program to study social and behavioral science, dependency counseling, human development, and adolescent psychology. Once you have acquired these degrees, you are prepared to work in a professional setting. Some states require licensing while others consider a degree from an accredited educational institute sufficient. Be sure to check with your state’s health board for clarification.

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