Talking Point: I don’t want to count my drinks… An alternative approach to setting “count goals” as part of an alcohol reduction plan, presented by Associate Professor, Petra Staiger, Deakin University, presented on the 20th of October 2021


In relation to reducing alcohol consumption we often set ourselves goals to reduce the number of drinks on a daily or weekly basis. This inevitably means that we are counting our drinks in order to assess whether we have achieved our goal. Therefore, the primary goal is to achieve a certain number of drinks. However, it is possible that count goals may negatively impact treatment adherence, data quality, and clinical outcomes and this is particularly relevant for digital interventions where the focus is often on counting particular behaviours (i.e., number of alcoholic drinks). I would like to propose an alternative approach to setting alcohol reduction goals – the Chronos Method. This method directly sets limits on the frequency of a problem behaviour without the need to count, thereby circumventing the typical drawbacks of setting a count goal. The Chronos Method limits the time period in which a problem behaviour can occur, affording a functional synergism with digital platforms that can be programmed to cue goals and interventions at specific times and in daily life.

About the presenter

Associate Professor Petra Staiger: is a Senior Academic and Psychologist within the School of Psychology at Deakin University and Deputy Director of the Centre for Drug Use, Addictive and Anti-social behaviour (CEDAAR). Her expertise is primarily in the treatment of addiction. Her work consists of a mix of: 

  • theoretical/experimental work which informs our understanding of the mechanisms underlying substance disorders (a focus on impulse control and emotion regulation);
  • conducting clinical trials;
  • conducting translational research by working directly with services to implement and evaluate best practise approaches.

She has written over 100 publications and presented at a range of national and international conferences..