Terri Cooper-RSW DCH
Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy
Inquiries (780) 418-1973 M-F 7am-9pm  S-S 10am-2pm

The majority of individuals who access services at Hypnosis for Life have, at one time or another made good use of: 1) traditional clinical psychology services  2) medication  3) community counselling, 12 step programs and/or treatment centers.
These options provide initial needed relief, however, relapse is common. Challenges tend to re-occur until the subconscious mind has fully accepted and absorbed new paths of least resistance.

"I already know what giving up feels like. I want to see what happens if I don't." Neila Rey 

Terri Cooper-RSW DCH
Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy
(780) 418-1973

  • You were not born an addict.
  • Addictions are learned, subconsciously driven and become paths of least resistance.
  • This work is not about cleansing oneself of sin (moral reasoning of AA).
  • This work is not about addressing addiction from a physiological stance (medical model).
  • This work encourages a focus on self-discovery as well as reprogramming.
  • The focus of this work is on reconnecting with potential and parts of the self that are still healthy.

There is a reason you abuse substances.

There are challenges associated with controlling (or eliminating) your use of substances.

There are programmed responses your subconscious mind has accepted as natural ways of being regarding your use of substances.

There are natural resources that you have not yet tapped into to manage (or eliminate) your abuse of substances.

                                                                                    ADDICTIONS & SHAME

This edmonton addictions hypnotherapy clinic addresses the underlying issue of shame. Almost all people who identify themselves as having an addiction experience shame. While society may subscribe to the notion that addiction is a disease there is also a belief that addicts are fundamentally weak and therefore lacking the wherewithal to “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.” The knowledge that the world around them views addiction as an inferior state of being builds on underlying shame. 

People who experience shame on a regular basis are at high risk for a multitude of other problems such as anxiety and depression. As shame builds, so does the addiction. For the addict this can feel like a never ending and hopeless cycle. Shame more then any other dis-empowered state can diminish the sense that life can ever get better. Secretive behavior and isolation is common.

The addict’s sense of self is closely tied to past incidents of shame. A historic orientation of self builds the shame and interferes with the ability to create a better future. The addiction may be alcohol, drugs, food, sex or gambling. Regardless of the chosen “tool” the individual will have a very personalized sense of shame around incidents of use and consequences of that use. Ultimately there is a sense of not being in control  of one`s self.

Each use builds the identity of being a shameful person. The effects may be personal and often spread out to other important systems including family, work and friends. The larger the spread, the more damaging the spread, the more likely the addict is to at some point begin to isolate. The danger in isolation is often a lost of potential support and a loss of important relationship and communication skills, thus furthering the shamed identity. 

We are born without shame. Shame is a learned response. 


Addictions almost always have a secretive nature. This is most often related to the shame inherent in being labelled as an “addict.” The need to hide evidence of addiction and the compulsion to minimize exposure to addictive behaviors is closely linked to shame and might therefore be seen as loving self protective behavior. 

Secretive behavior around addictions helps to minimize contact with outside shaming forces but inadvertently build the internal shame identity at the subconscious level. Isolating, requiring more privacy, stashing alcohol/drugs/porn/food in special off-limit places are common. 

Secretive behavior builds cellular memory around an addiction and thus begins to normalize a way of being that is ultimately extremely destructive and a world away from one’s original potential. 

Secretive behaviors are learned and accepted by the subconscious mind until a new way of being is programmed.


When addiction is present most spousal relationships will eventually become strained. When both partners are experiencing addiction there will be varying levels of positive functioning between the partners. These levels of functional behavior may surge positively and spiral down negatively seemingly out of the blue. However, there is almost always a pattern present. 

Habitual leveling off is common for addicts who are at a stage where maintenance of home and employment is still evident. These leveling off periods are what keep two addicted spouses engaged. However, when only one individual has acknowledged addiction issues the movement between lower functioning and upswings causes a higher level of emotional strain then does the functional rhythm in coupled addicts.

Communication patterns shift and a rhythm can be seen. Historical relationships often play a role in partner selection and in communication patterns. The historical relationships of significance are early childhood (caregivers) and pre-teen/adolescent relationships. Early programming runs deep and reprogramming requires a commitment to a new set of beliefs. 


I am embarrassed or ashamed about my drug/alcohol use.

I am not certain I want to quit using.

I am secretive and hide my drugs/alcohol from my spouse.

I see my spousal relationship has become strained.

I see substance use as an expectation of my work.

I have had a recent "wake up call."

I do not have as much confidence as I would like to have.

I see my use is causing problems for my children.

I feel I am not reaching my potential.

I am not an alcoholic, just a problem drinker.

I see my social life revolves around using.

I find it easy to conceal my use from others.

I view my use of substances as a weakness.

I use substances to address depression.

I believe using has negatively impacted my career.

I feel my health is being impacted by my use.

I know/suspect one of my parents had addictions issues.

I want to continue to use, but differently.

I have made use of inpatient/outpatient/self-help/therapy.

I can take or leave substances, unless stressed.

I am not meeting the high standards I set for others.

I have been confronted by my family, friends or doctor.

I am triggered by & avoid certain people or situations.I

I believe I am successful in other areas of my life.

I have been confronted by associates at work.

I would like to control my using.

I use substances to address anxiety.

There was a time when using was not a compulsion. Your health, relationships, career, finances and social standing are all negatively affected by dependence on substances. Your life was not meant to be this way. The self talk you indulge in has become an anchor that keeps you stuck.

The state that your body, mind and spirit are in now is not consistent with the potential that is still within you. When you began this life, you started with an unlimited possibility for creation.

Somewhere along the line, at a time of vulnerability  you took a turn and have continued to fall deeper into places you were never meant to be. The subconscious mind accepted the identity of addict and now needs to allow the acceptance of a new identity.

We have developed a range of models (disease and morality) in an attempt to understand and manage addiction issues and yet people still struggle. In spite of their best efforts for many, the compulsion to use is a daily battle. We understand addictions on a psychological and a physiological level, and yet, there is no known "cure." It is an absolute fact that a range of traditional services are available to the "addict" and yet, in spite of good intentions, challenges remain. Traditional supports such as AA have been shown to offer only a 5-10% success rate, and for many the need to admit powerlessness and admit to moral defectiveness feeds into and strengthens a victim mentality.

This work is not about cleansing oneself of sin, rather the focus is on discovery and re-connecting with the parts of the self that are still healthy. From this place we build. In fact some individuals choose the goal of controlled use and reconstruct behaviors and beliefs to mirror those of a safe social drinker. 

We build on successes. We build on parts of the self that want more. This is how we become the CEO of our lives; we take a stand for ourselves and commit to learning new ways of being.

Many people who see themselves as addicts (and behave as such)  are also incredibly smart, creative, insightful, caring, talented and capable at their core. Amazing parts of the self have simply been put on the back burner.

Many of these people wish to explore controlled use and first need to realistically address triggers. Many people experiencing issues with drugs/alcohol do not see themselves as addicts. This is often the case when one has had the opportunity to compare themselves to other users. For example, after attending AA or NA, some functional users will decide that they are coping relatively well in comparison to others. 

Addiction as it is known in the western world has been defined and treated via a medical and spiritual/morality model. However, somewhere along the continuum there exists the possibility for some people to create healthier parameters around their use while maintaining functional capacity. 

The disease model and the morality model are limited in that they place the user in a victim state. Not all users should be viewed as having a ‘disease’ or lacking morality. The desire to learn to be in control of using is common. For some, it is possible. 

This is especially the case for the individual who is willing to invest time and energy in building the new persona. Moving away from the “addict” persona to a healthier persona requires that the subconscious mind accept the new identity and the incumbent beliefs and behaviours.


The difficulty faced by medical professionals and traditional therapy, in offering a complete, long lasting and an effective form of treatment for psychological dependency continued to remain a major health and social problem until recently. But today with the introduction of some of the effective hypnotherapeutic techniques psychological dependence can be successfully managed. Jayasinghe, H. B. (2005). Hypnosis in the Management of Alcohol Dependence. European Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis6(3), 12-16.

Understanding alcohol and other drug (AOD) abuse disorders can be complex and confusing. Addicted individuals compulsively consume alcohol and drugs despite increasingly negative consequences. The majority of drinkers are able to regulate their intake of alcohol without loss of control. However, alcoholics and addicted individuals, like passive spectators watching their lives careen out of control, seem helpless to alter the course of this downward spiral. Through the years, psychologists and psychiatrists have developed a variety of theoretical models that try to explain the complexity and paradoxical nature of addictive behavior. What would motivate individuals to act in such a seemingly self-destructive manner? Is it a genetic susceptibility? Is it a learned behavior caused by dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors? Is it a disorder of self caused by early childhood trauma? Is it an attempt to restore homeostasis to a dysfunctional family system? Recent research has brought new knowledge that is leading to the coalescing of the models. The research now shows that addiction is a “biobehavioral disorder” for which some individuals have a genetic susceptibility and that alcohol or drug abuse can cause physical changes to the brain structure. These physical changes lead to compulsive use. In addition, the disease is complicated by learning or conditioning factors, social factors, family dynamics, and developmental factors as well as the presence of comorbid disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Margolis, R. D., & Zweben, J. E. (2011). Models and theories of addiction. In , Treating patients with alcohol and other drug problems: An integrated approach (2nd ed.) (pp. 27-58). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/12312-002

Simultaneously assess the relationship between the family support perception and the intensity of hopelessness, depression, and anxiety symptoms in alcohol or drug dependent (AOD) patients and in non-AOD dependent control group (CON). Method: 60 patients who met the DSM-IV criteria for AOD dependence and 65 individuals with similar profile, but not dependent on AOD completed the Family Support Perception Inventory (FSPI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). Results: Logistic regression analysis indicated that high scores in family autonomy (OR = 0.08), and low scores in hopelessness (OR = 0.64) were negatively correlated with AOD dependence. Individuals with high scores in BAI had higher probability (OR = 1.22) of belonging to the AOD group, as well as those who reported previous psychiatric treatment (OR = 68.91). Only in the AOD group the total FSPI scores presented significant correlation with depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Conclusions: Individuals with AOD dependence and low scores of family support perception also presented high scores of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, suggesting that FSPI scores could be a useful ‘social marker’ of AOD dependence with psychiatric comorbidities. These data also reinforce the relevance of evaluating family support in AOD treatment planning

Lemos, V., Antunes, H., Baptista, M., Tufik, S., Mello, M., & Formigoni, M. (2012). Low family support perception: A 'social marker' of substance dependence?. Revista Brasileira De Psiquiatria34(1), 52-59

Emotional and interpersonal impairments associated with alcohol-dependence have been recently explored, but the distorted cognitive representations underlying these deficits remain poorly understood. The present study aims at exploring the presence of maladaptive social self-beliefs among alcohol-dependent individuals, as these biased self-beliefs have been recently shown to play a crucial role in the development and maintenance of other psychopathological states (social anxiety and depression). Methodology/Principal findings: Twenty-five recently detoxified alcohol-dependent participants and 25 matched controls filled in self-report questionnaires evaluating maladaptive social self-beliefs, interpersonal problems and several comorbid states (anxiety, social anxiety, depression). As compared to controls, alcohol-dependent individuals showed higher scores than controls for the three subcategories of maladaptive social self-beliefs (high standards, conditional beliefs and unconditional beliefs). Our key finding was that when comorbidities were controlled for, alcohol-dependence was associated with a specific bias towards exaggerated high standards in social contexts. Moreover, these high standards beliefs were strongly correlated with interpersonal problems. Conclusions/Significance: These results provide the first insights into the influence of cognitive biases on interpersonal problems in addictive states, and suggest that maladaptive self-beliefs could have a central influence on the development and maintenance of alcohol-dependence

Maurage, P., de Timary, P., Moulds, M. L., Wong, Q. J., Collignon, M., Philippot, P., & Heeren, A. (2013). Maladaptive social self-beliefs in alcohol-dependence: A specific bias towards excessive high standards. Plos ONE8(3),

Quality of life is recognised increasingly as an important component in the evaluation of disease processes. Comorbid psychiatric diagnoses accompanying alcohol addiction, especially severe cases of anxiety or depression, may have a negative impact on quality of life. This study focused on the impact of severity of anxiety and depression on quality of life of 150 alcohol-dependent patients treated in hospital. Design and Methods: Consecutive patients were evaluated using relevant quality of life scales at the study's onset and 3 and 6 weeks after the complete disappearance of withdrawal symptoms. Patients were classified into three groups: patients with alcohol dependence only, patients with depression and patients with anxiety. Results: The level of anxiety and depression decreased from the initial evaluation to week 3 in patients with a high level of anxiety and depression, whereas the level of anxiety increased in the alcohol only-dependent patients. Initial evaluation conducted using the quality of life scales indicated significant differences between the three patient groups: physical health (F = 7.92, p = 0.001); psychological (F = 32.21, p = 0.001); social relationship (F = 3.45, p = 0.03); and environment (F = 7.79, p = 0.001). At weeks 3 and 6, quality of life for physical health, psychological and environment areas differed significantly between patient groups, but social relationships did not. At weeks 3 and 6, quality of life was lowest in patients with depression and highest in alcohol only-dependent patients with a low severity of depression or anxiety. Discussion and Conclusions: Symptoms of anxiety and depression accompanying alcohol addiction lead to an increase in severity of the problems associated with the addiction and have a negative effect on quality of life. Measurement of quality of life within the scope of treatment programmes would help to identify treatment requirements in addicted patients.

Saatcioglu, O., Yapici, A., & Cakmak, D. (2008). Quality of life, depression and anxiety in alcohol dependence. Drug And Alcohol Review27(1), 83-90. doi:10.1080/09595230701711140

The efficacy of hypnosis in the treatment of depressive symptoms was subjected to a meta-analysis. Studies were identified using Google Scholar and 6 electronic databases: PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsiTri, PsychLit, Embase, and the Cochrane Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Review Group (CCDAN). The keywords used were (a) hypnosis, (b) hypnotherapy, (c) mood disorder, (d) depression, and (e) dysthymia. Six studies qualified and were analyzed using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software package. The combined effect size of hypnosis for depressive symptoms was 0.57. Hypnosis appeared to significantly improve symptoms of depression (p < .001). Hypnosis appears to be a viable nonpharmacologic intervention for depression.

Shih, M., Yang, Y., & Koo, M. (2009). A meta-analysis of hypnosis in the treatment of depressive symptoms: A brief communication. International Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Hypnosis57(4), 431-442.

Extreme fear and avoidance of a particular object or situation characterize phobic anxiety. Such phobias are common and can interfere with the daily functioning of people who suffer from them. For example, people with phobic anxiety of public speaking endure substantial distress, or avoid situations in which public speaking is required, or both. Many careers and social functions require the ability to communicate in groups. Thus, avoidance of public speaking interferes with occupational functioning, social activities, and relationships (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Cognitive-behavioral therapies are currently the treatments of choice for phobic anxiety disorders, with emphasis placed on the use of in vivo exposure to a graduated hierarchy of feared situations. In this chapter, I present the use of hypnosis in treating a case of public-speaking anxiety, a frequently reported fear. Although this treatment was designed to address a specific phobia, treatment principles from this case can easily be extended and adapted for use with simple phobias, generalized social phobia, and other anxiety disorders

Schoenberger, N. E. (1996). Cognitive-Behavioral Hypnotherapy for Phobic Anxiety. In S. Lynn, I. Kirsch, J. W. Rhue (Eds.) , Casebook of clinical hypnosis (pp. 33-49). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. 

The misery caused by alcohol addiction to the addict and to his family members and the entire society in general, is a matter of serious concern to health authorities. Alcohol dependence can be broadly divided into physiological dependence and psychological dependence. The physiological dependence can be successfully controlled with appropriate medical management. But the difficulty faced by medical professionals in offering a complete, long lasting and an effective form of treatment for psychological dependency continued to remain a major health and social problem until recently. But today with the introduction of some of the effective hypnotherapeutic techniques such as guided imagery, visualization techniques, dream induction, rational emotive behavior therapy and aversion therapy, psychological dependence can be successfully managed.

Jayasinghe, H. B. (2005). Hypnosis in the Management of Alcohol Dependence. European Journal Of Clinical Hypnosis6(3), 12-16.

The majority of individuals who access services at Hypnosis for Life have, at one time or another made good use of: 1) traditional clinical psychology services  2) medication  3) community counselling, 12 step programs and/or treatment centers.
These options provide initial needed relief, however, relapse is common. Challenges tend to re-occur until the subconscious mind has fully accepted and absorbed new paths of least resistance.


Terri Cooper-RSW DCH
Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy
(780) 418-1973

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