Therapists’ experiences of delivering CBT for clients with alcohol use problems

: a thematic analysis

  • Laura Tinsley

Student thesis: PsychD


This qualitative study aimed to understand therapists’ experiences of delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for clients with alcohol use problems (AUP). Qualitative research on therapists’ experience of delivering CBT to clients with AUP is limited; this is particularly the case within the field of counselling psychology. Therapists’ experiences provide relevant information that contributes to a deeper understanding of the gap between theory and practice, by exploring their experiences of how CBT works or does not work for clients with AUP.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants who had used CBT as a primary intervention to treat AUP. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis (TA), which followed Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phases of analysis. Seven themes were identified through analysis of the data: “It’s still a medical model”; Unravelling the Complexity; “In practice, it’s a different story”; Getting Ready for Change; Experiencing a Human-to-human Encounter; Finding Hope in the Hopelessness; and Taking Back the Control. These themes highlight the complexity of delivering CBT to this client group and explore how delivering CBT often takes a multifactorial approach rather than merely delivering rigid protocol-driven interventions.

A multifactorial approach moves away from the dominant medical model approach to treatment. Implications of the findings in relation to therapeutic practice, as well as limitations of the study, are discussed.
Date of Award18 Feb 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorCatherine Gilvarry (Supervisor) & Edith Steffen (Supervisor)


  • CBT
  • Alcohol use problems
  • Thematic analysis

Cite this

Therapists’ experiences of delivering CBT for clients with alcohol use problems: a thematic analysis
Tinsley, L. (Author). 18 Feb 2020

Student thesis: PsychD