Chemical Dependence and the Transformation into a Persephone Woman

Acks-Stewart, Synde (2011) Chemical Dependence and the Transformation into a Persephone Woman. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


Download (3MB) | Preview


It is thought by many that chemical dependence can develop in response to specific unmet emotional needs, and can be an intergeneration family dysfunction. This Clinical Case Study describes the psychotherapy journey of a young adult woman struggling with chemical dependence. Although attention was largely focused on her drug use, by the end of the six months of psychotherapy, she was well on her way to changing her identity from a lonely, self-conscious girl into an empowered young woman. The Literature Review chapter includes biological, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and socio-cultural perspectives on chemical dependence, as well as imaginal approaches to chemical dependence. Key concepts and major principles from these perspectives help identify the ways chemical dependence can be experienced psychologically. The Progression of the Treatment chapter depicts this woman’s struggle with cocaine dependence and its resolution. This section highlights themes, significant interventions, and turning points during the course of therapy. Imaginal Psychology’s v contributions to treatment interventions helped contain the client’s exploration of her vulnerabilities with acceptance and understanding. The Learnings chapter addresses the mythic lens through which the client viewed her world and the chemical dependence that she suffered as a result. There were five significant learnings this study can contribute to the field of psychology. The first learning is that chemical dependence is highly correlated with a false self: the mask that problematically entrenches its captives in the pervasive, all-consuming experience of isolation, shame, and alienation. The second is that intoxication is sought for the mystery, magic, beauty, and interpersonal connection inherent in the experience. The third is that chemical dependence is experienced as a form of enslavement rooted in the bastardization of the feminine principle through the mind-body-spirit split. The fourth is that it is problematic to either be codependent, distanced, or adherent to rigid boundaries while treating a patient with chemical dependence. The fifth learning is that after the development of chemical dependence, the remaining benefit of the pattern lies in the transformative potential of sobriety. The Reflections chapter presents the Demeter and Persephone myth as the backdrop to the client’s life. The client began suffering from a mind-body split early in her youth. Once she managed to process how the implications of this myth played out in her life, she was able to significantly improve her connection to her body, to develop soulful connections, and to minimize cravings for intoxication. Demeter and Persephone is a myth worthy of close attention when working with women who have undergone early trauma in their lives particularly relating to their interpersonal familial relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Cynthia Aacks
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:49

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item