Is psychotherapy a realistic treatment for chronic alcoholism?

Treat Alcoholism. Definitely. I would recommend a cognitive-behavioral therapist (cbt) who specializes in substance abuse and is familiar with motivational interviewing. This treatment is the most research-supported. However, initial detoxification in a hospital may be necessary (to prevent life-threatening withdrawal symptoms) and the person should seek an evaluation for this as a first step.
Yes. It most certainly is, and in my opinion is underutilized in a substance treatment culture that i believe is over-dominated by the 12-step model. People with alcoholism are not a homogenous group. The reasons people drink too much are too numerous to count, and the paths to wellness (not even sobriety, necessarily) are equally numerous, and are as varied as the people who struggle with alcohol.
Motivational int. The specific type of therapy that has proven quite effective for alcoholism or alcohol dependence is called motivational interviewing, which identifies a person's stage of change and works with them to facilitate behavioral change. Abstinence and aa like programs are also helpful. There are also medications that can help reduce cravings.
Alcoholism. In my experience combining individual or group therapy with aa is a very effective combination of modalities that can lead to sobriety. Best.