Book Review — The Sophisticated Alcoholic


Therapist, and hypnotherapist, David Allen acknowledges that the program he outlines in this book is at odds with most current practice for treating alcohol-related problems. He believes in behavioral change and has devoted a lot of his career to applying the psychology of change to alcohol-related issues. He believes that people can alter their relationship to alcohol, enabling them to drink occasionally without reverting to abusing alcohol. (Recovering alcoholics need to be cautious about adopting these ideas too quickly.)

He tells us that a thorough understanding of the causes of alcohol abuse is required in order to change one’s relationship to alcohol. He describes the tools which he has successfully used to deal with the underlying causes of abusive drinking, and introduces the reader to the use of hypnosis therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) in relation to the problem. The last part of the book details his step-by-step program for altering core beliefs and creating permanent change.

He intends to talk specifically to those drinkers who manage their abuse of alcohol so that it only minimally interferes with their functioning. Having been one of those drinkers himself, he clearly understands how hard it is to consider alcohol a problem when there are no serious consequences of the behavior to point to. The success of his protocol requires that a client acknowledge the ways in which drinking undermines his or her well-being, resulting in a solid willingness to change. The decision comes first. Once it has been made, this book will provide readers with the information they need to successfully put that decision into practice.

Allen extensively explores modern concepts about alcoholism and its treatment. He acknowledges both modalities that parallel his, and those that are at least partially contradictory in approach. As the child of an alcoholic, and someone who monitors her relationship with alcohol because of that, I found this book to provide new and thought-provoking insight into the problem. It is much more innately hopeful than most of the literature in the field. It is clear, however, that a serious commitment to do the work is necessary for the program to be effective. This is not a program for dabblers.

© 2012 Anna Jedrziewski and

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