Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An Exploration of Women in Long-Term Recovery from Alcoholism: A Phenomenological Study
by Hofmeyer, Ericka E., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2017, 197; 10601588
Abstract (Summary)

This study utilizes interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) and derives meaning from the lived experiences of 5 alcoholic women with over 20 years sober from alcohol and attending Alcoholics Anonymous. Semi-structured interview questions are coded to expose themes detailing early childhood experiences, consequences related to drinking, the sense of self, and the search for wholeness. A psychoanalytic perspective informs the underlying developmental aspects of alcoholism. The interviews reveal significant emotional, physical, and sexual trauma that produced a repetition compulsion and lack of groundedness within the self. The lack of an internal structure to modulate or process anxiety, frustration, and disappointment reinforces a false sense of self. This includes implosive and explosive primary and secondary defenses: childhood tantrums, thoughts of suicide, sexual promiscuity, compulsive lying, a lack of internal wholeness, eating disorders, impulsivity, and severe loneliness. Due to the lack of a healthy mother-infant unit, participants report an inability to internalize and create autonomy. Research indicates pervasive dependent personality problems, domestic violence, and socio-economic considerations affecting a women’s ability to seek treatment and remain sober. Language and gender biases in Alcoholics Anonymous and in treatment centers further hinders recovery. Research indicates that professionals working with alcoholic women need advanced training to best assist alcoholic women in creating wholeness. Research indicates the need for a recovery model that includes socioeconomic factors, cultural norms, trauma and women’s stories.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Panajian, Avedis
Commitee: Lewis, Christine, Rose, William
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Alcoholism, Jungian, Object relations, Psychoanalysis, Recovery, Women
Publication Number: 10601588
ISBN: 978-0-355-05985-4
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