Your Problem

Addictive Behaviours
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Panic Attacks
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Relationship Abuse
Social Anxiety

Addictive Behaviors

The simplest definition: uncontrolled behavior preceded by a period of reflection and cravings. The motivation that keeps the whole pattern going stems from a deep unconscious anxiety rooted in the past. The goal of addiction is instant relief (escape, oblivion) on a temporary basis despite all the consequent guilt and remorse that occurs later. It is a real catch 22 that is kept going by the concept of denial. Denial occurs when the person can rationalize that the behavior is not out of control, something or someone else is to blame. The user sees himself (herself) as a victim. As the addiction use increases, losses occur. Friends fall away, income may lessen, family relationships are ruined and self destruction is imminent because the chemical abuse impairs brain function and rational thought continuously at this point. The person will reach a low point at which either self destruction occurs or a first true attempt at recovery is made. The family of the user may become just as irrational and insane and will require help and treatment to recover (i.e. co dependency syndrome).

Treatment Options: This problem is so all pervasive in our society that many governmental agencies provide counselling and in house treatments. Private agencies and hypnotherapists are also available to help. (back to the top)


We all worry, from time to time about things that are important to us. Usually when the problem is over there is a sense of relief, but for some people this does not end their mental and emotional stress. They immediately start worrying about something else. All this unnecessary worry requires a huge emotional energy expenditure. Research has shown that if you worry about 20 things, usually only 1 really happens and usually you have the resources to overcome that problem. Unfortunately you have been preparing to resolve all 20 problems - and that is exhausting when done on a constant basis. Anxiety and worry is all about fear. Being afraid is a healthy, normal response that keeps us out of danger. When we think we see dangers all around us, everywhere, constantly, these fictional dangers cause damaging emotional distress and results in abnormal behavior. About 5% of the population suffers general anxiety disorder. They are always "stressed out, keyed up," resulting in a tense body. The physical stress presents as a variety of aches and pains or even serious illness. Disrupted sleep patterns usually occur and depression is common. Low self esteem and poor self confidence is common. The causes of general anxiety disorder are many. Stresses in life are inevitable and most people deal with them and move on. For some, the stressors are too powerful and too many and eventually a breakdown occurs (i.e. death of a loved one, losing your job and being sued, all within 1 week). Sometimes it is not external stress that harms, but internal stress. When just a child, the person learns to be self critical and develops a negative self image. This situation complicates everything.

Treatment Options: There are many treatment options - psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, relaxation methods, and anti anxiety medications as prescribed by a doctor. (back to the top)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

When a person's compulsions and obsessive thoughts overpower their life to the point that they are unable to function normally, unwanted, disturbing, or distracting thoughts and out of control behaviors are typical. This disorder usually develops in early childhood, but may not be diagnosed until adulthood. This may be a biology based disorder involving the brain chemical, seratonin.

Treatment Options: Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy combined with a combination of doctor prescribed medications is often effective. (back to the top)

Panic Attacks

Most people feel panic about something at least once in their lives. But when it happens frequently, with intensity and without warning, it can be devastating. This unpredictable nature adds to the distress. If attacks persist, it can be so distressful that the person may not want to leave home; the safety zone (agoraphobia). For reasons not yet known, women are twice as likely as men to have panic attacks. The physical symptoms include: accelerated heart rate, difficult breathing, trembling, dizziness, nausea. The feeling is often mistaken for a heart attack. There may be a sense of "going crazy." These powerful physical symptoms are triggered by adrenaline, a hormone that is released when imminent danger is perceived. Scientists do not know exactly why the body's natural "warning system" gets triggered when there is no actual danger. Usually there is a key event buried in the past and forgotten about that comes to the surface and triggers the fear inherent in a panic attack. Researchers do know that panic attacks are connected to major life transitions (i.e. marriage, divorce, first child, graduation, new job, et. all). Some courageous people fight off their panic attacks for years, but if the attacks intensify, they need treatment.

Treatment Options: Learn about the dynamics of your panic attack from a psychologist or doctor. Relaxation and breathing techniques help. Hypnotherapy may help to uncover the key event that initiated the panic and a complete resolution may be possible. Prescribed medication is also useful. Bensodiozepenes and antidepressants must be taken on a regular basis from 6 months to a year. (back to the top)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P. T. S. D.)

A person with P. T. S. D. has experienced an event involving actual or threatened death or injury to themselves or others. They have experienced intense fear, a sense of helplessness, and horror. The trauma can be a singular even or a prolonged one. Our brains and nervous system are intended to handle stress and trauma - to a point. When your system is overwhelmed by traumatic stimuli, it goes into an overload situation. The result is the fear stays "locked" in your nervous system, waiting to be released. It is estimated that 10% of the population has or had P. T. S. D. symptoms. More females suffer from P. T. S. D.. Some people can recover with brief therapy, but for others, treatment is longer. Symptoms may show up quickly or be delayed for years: flashbacks, nightmares, avoiding similar activities and conversations, depression, sleep disturbances, emotionally "numb," uncontrolled crying, being on guard, jumpy, and survivor guilt.

Treatment Options: Clinical hypnosis and various "energy therapies" can help (i.e. E. M. D. R., E. F. T.). Doctor prescribed medications can be helpful if there is notable depression. Support groups and peer counselling can be very useful. (back to the top)

Relationship Abuse

This is a complex problem, but it has some common features: Fighting and making up frequently. Criticism, threats, and ridicule are frequent as well as "tuning out" or "taking you for granted." Drugs or alcohol use often is a problem. You may feel relieved when your partner is gone and often wonder why you put up with it, yet the thought of living alone or independently seems impossible. You feel trapped. The core of your problem is your feeling that "I am not lovable and if I leave I'll be lonely the rest of my life or I deserve to be treated this badly." If you allow this mistaken belief to persist, even it you do leave and find someone else, that person will also abuse you. You seem to prefer a dysfunctional, abusive person over someone who is supportive and nurturing. The origins of these beliefs about yourself are in early childhood. The experience of intimacy, love, and nurturing that we have as babies and small children form our beliefs about ourselves. Everyone is abused and neglected to some degree as small children, either through parental ignorance or life circumstances, either by accident or on purpose. Even the wisest and most well intentioned parents can not meet a child's every need all the time. However, the more abuse or neglect, the more likely the child will feel unlovable. The good news is you can heal.. You can change yourself even if you cannot change your partner.

Treatment Options: Couple and family therapists abound. This is such a complex issue that you must get professional help to find and heal the core of your self defeating beliefs and behaviors. Clinical hypnosis is an effective way to heal these deeply rooted false beliefs about yourself. To heal this problem, you must be willing to actively participate in a therapeutic alliance with your counsellor. Painful memories of the past can be neutralized with E. M. D. R. or E. F. T.. (back to the top)

Social Anxiety

The fear of public speaking is the most common social anxiety. This same fear of being vulnerable to criticism occurs at a more subtle level for most. Some people are never comfortable around strangers and avoid social gatherings. In their mind, whatever they say or do will be evaluated negatively. They often blush easily, swallow frequently, and develop nervous twitches. There is usually a key event in early childhood that started and maintained this problem. Social interaction is the "juice" that can make life rewarding and meaningful. These people are being forced into isolation by this complex problem. Social anxiety is more prevalent in our society than it ever has been because of pressure to live up to an idealized social norm.

Treatment Options: Group therapy can be very effective to overcome this disorder as well as various forms of psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis. (back to the top)


Dr. Hans Selye, the pioneering stress researcher at McGill University discovered that there is an optimal level of stress. When stress does not exceed that level, we rise to the challenge, overcome obstacles, solve problems, and feel good about ourselves. Beyond that optimal level, we begin to suffer. The "fight or flight" syndrome evolved as a means of dealing with short term danger. Adrenaline is pumped into your system to deal with the physical danger to confronting it or running away (i.e. a tiger). If you survive, you calm down and the adrenaline leaves your system. Nowadays, danger does not jump out of the bushes anymore, it jumps out of an envelope in the form of bills, deadlines, law suits, etc.. The information age has also made us aware of all the global distress. Because of corporation down sizing and job losses, a great fear has been aroused on an ongoing basis. There seems to be no safety or security anywhere. For these reasons, the adrenaline stays in your system 24 hours a day, resulting in chronic stress symptoms: sleep disturbances, physical illness (often of an ill defined nature, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc.), depression, addictive behavior, and compulsive habits.

Treatment Options: Stress is involved in 80% of hospitalized illnesses and is so common a complaint that many agencies and counsellors offer stress management courses. Relaxation techniques are important as well. Hypnosis and psychotherapy as well as prescription medication for anxiety and depression often help overcome this widespread and debilitating problem. (back to the top)

Gary A. Lowe, M. Ed. C. H.

(Masters of Education, Couns. Psych.)


P E A C E "Win Within"
"When Nothing Else Works"

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