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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Necessity of Failure, Women's Severe Substance Use Disorders, Long-term Recovery and Relapse
by Gaunt, Jane Elise, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015, 258; 10109492
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores what happened that led a woman with long-term recovery from a severe substance use disorder back into active addiction. Recovery over the long term requires ongoing personal development and involves awareness and interaction between both conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche. Long-term recovery was likened to C. G. Jung’s concept of individuation and it can be imagined that relapse occurs when a woman’s commitment to abstinence cannot withstand the alchemical pressures involved in moving through a difficult period. A method of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was employed as a means to explore the themes and patterns which emerged in narratives obtained through interviews and writings of six women who relapsed after more than 10 years abstinence and had been previously active in 12-step based recovery. Patterns expressed in the narratives suggested that an initially insufficient understanding or limited personal investment in the recovery process, as well as, undertreated co-occurring disorders were factors that facilitated a return to active addiction. These dynamics seemed to reduce resiliency and allowed the women to justify a pharmaceutical solution when intense life stressors manifested and the participant became isolated. Relapse is a reality that may benefit from re-conceptualization and for some can be an indispensable continuation of the recovery process. The experience of failure seemed necessary and though the experience was painful and perilous, each of the women reported that their recovery was ultimately strengthened from it. Key words: substance use disorders, relapse, women, long-term recovery, and individuation

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Katsky, Patricia
Commitee: Denney, Michael, White, William
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychotherapy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Depth psychology, Failure, Long-term recovery, Relapse, Transformation, Women
Publication Number: 10109492
ISBN: 978-1-339-72777-6
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