Department of Psychology

How is HBAC different?

Traditional Approach

Heavy emphasis on acceptance of self as having a problem; acceptance of diagnosis seen as essential for change.

Emphasis on personality pathology, which reduces personal choice, judgment, and control.

Therapist presents perceived evidence of problems in an attempt to convince the client to accept the diagnosis.

Resistance is seen as "denial," a trait characteristic requiring confrontation.
Resistance is met with argumentation and correction.

Goals of treatment and strategies for change are prescribed for the client by the therapist; abstinence is often presented as the only acceptable goal; client is seen as "in denial" and incapable of making sound decisions.

HBAC Approach

De-emphasis on labels; acceptance of "alcoholism", “addict”, or other labels seen as unnecessary for change to occur.

Emphasis on personal choice and responsibility for deciding future behavior.

Therapist conducts objective evaluation, but focuses on eliciting the client’s own concerns.

Resistance is seen as an interpersonal behavior pattern influenced by the therapist’s behavior.
Resistance is met with reflection.

Treatment goals and change strategies are negotiated between client and therapist, based on data and acceptability; client’s involvement in and acceptance of goals are seen as vital; goals can include abstinence or moderation, depending on the clinical data, evidence-based decision making, and client preferences.

Last Updated: February 27, 2014