Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Potential Space: Discovering a Place for D.W. Winnicott in the Psychoanalytic Literature on Drug Addiction
by Southgate, Karl, Psy.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2016, 304; 10125951
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation provides readers with a general framework for understanding drug addiction from a Winnicottian perspective that can help clinicians to better understand and work with clients who struggle with drug addiction. The underlying purpose of developing such a framework is not to formulate a “master theory” that is applicable to all cases of addiction or that claims to encompass all of the myriad facets of addiction—such an endeavor would prove impossible, reductionistic, and hubristic. Rather, this dissertation uses Winnicott’s theories to identify and explore emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and developmental components of addictive processes that are present in some—but not all—cases of addiction. Although etiological factors play a prominent role in this dissertation, I argue that a Winnicottian approach can help clinicians to work with clients regardless of how much is known about their pasts and illustrate that a Winnicottian perspective need not be reductionisitc. I developed this model by applying the insights gleaned from primary and secondary literature to a case study. More specifically, I analyze the case utilizing three especially prominent themes in Winnicott’s theory: being, aggression, and creativity. Doing so enabled me to conclude the following regarding addiction: From a Winnicottian perspective, an individual’s relationships with drugs of abuse are both interpersonal and regressive in nature and are founded upon the need to experience the personal aliveness that accompanies the actualization of one or more developmental potentials.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Barbre, Claude
Commitee: Jacobowitz, Jordan
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Psychology
Keywords: Addiction, Creativity, Psychoanalysis, Psychodynamic, Psychotherapy, Winnicott
Publication Number: 10125951
ISBN: 9781339840093
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