Leaving Addiction Behind: A Jungian Therapeutic Approach

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Date(s) - 21/11/2015
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Oxford - Friends Meeting House


Addiction casts a fearful shadow over families. Everyone in the family is affected, and the shadow falls heavily on the next generation. Yet when I have spoken to people who have been affected, their views are often clouded by misunderstandings. There can be few therapists who have not encountered similar dilemmas amongst their clients. Today I invite you to consider these questions with me by looking at an extreme example, and thinking about what helps and hinders at each stage in the process.

This story of a young drug user, told in his own words, illustrates the process of recovery from chronic life-threatening addiction to alcohol and a variety of  psychotropic drugs, principally injectable heroin, and shows how Jung’s perspective on addiction is therapeutically effective at each stage from the point of being severely addicted to stopping and on into recovery.

His story sheds light on addiction as both a search and a defence, and recovery as a total reorientation from being lost in a dark underworld to re-emerging into the human landscape and engaging in it, with all the challenges it presents – ultimately as a wounded healer who put his understanding to good use.

Mary Addenbrooke

Mary Addenbrooke, PhD, is a training analyst with the Society of Analytical Psychology.  She worked in the National Health Service in a substance misuse service as both clinician and researcher into the long-term outcome of treatment. Her doctoral thesis, for which she studied at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex, focused on recovery from addiction, using interviews with ex-patients. Her book Survivors of Addiction: Narratives of Recovery was published by Routledge in 2011. She supervises and teaches in the UK and in Belgrade, Serbia, and is in private practice in West Sussex.

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