Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy



Implementer: Office of Probation and Community Corrections, Dutchess County, New York

Partners: Dutchess County STOP-DWI

Program Overview: This Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) program is a brief psychotherapy intervention designed to teach individuals more adaptive coping mechanisms and strategies for managing a variety of issues related to alcohol abuse by addressing the individual’s ability to effectively manage both problems and their underlying causes.

Program Design: The CBT implemented for recidivist driving while impaired (DWI) offenders is a 16-week curriculum focused on improving self-efficacy through developing coping skills and problem-solving abilities. Assertiveness and relaxation training are also provided, but most importantly, participants are taught to manage the relationship between their thinking and their drinking behaviors. Delivery of the curriculum is by means of structured, goal-oriented sessions offered in a closed-group setting.

-CBT aims to teach individuals the skills necessary to improve their thinking, manage their emotional experience, and moderate their behavior to strengthen their coping ability.

-Participants were breathalyzed prior to the start of each session, were randomly urine tested, and were required to attend at least 14 of the 16 sessions to successfully complete the program.

Evaluation: This longitudinal study examined differences in DWI recidivism among multiple-DWI offenders, comparing those who received the CBT program (n=486) against those who had been referred to traditional treatment (n = 200).

-Outcomes evaluated included DWI recidivism within 3 years of referral to treatment and end-of-program participant survey measures on coping ability, overall functioning, quality of life and treatment satisfaction, and risk of re-offense.

Key findings: In 3-year follow up, CBT participants had lower DWI recidivism rates (11%) than the New York State (25%), national (30%), and comparison group (25%) rates.

- The CBT group also reported decreased risk of re-offense and improved overall functioning compared with the comparison group.

Program Website:


Quinn, T.P. & Quinn, E.L. (2015). The effect of cognitive-behavioral therapy on driving while intoxicated recidivism. Journal of Drug Issues, 45(4), 431-446.

Target Audience: Drink driving offenders
Issues: Drinking and Driving
Setting: Remedial Drink Driving Programs
Approach: Multi-Component
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