The Crystallized Soul: A Mother's Grief and her Search for Recovery from Addiction

Westwood, David (2011) The Crystallized Soul: A Mother's Grief and her Search for Recovery from Addiction. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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The topic of this Clinical Case Study is the co-occurring disorders of complicated grief and addiction. Co-occurring disorders are common among those in treatment for addiction or other psychological difficulties. Complicated grief is a prolonged and affectively intense form of grief. The subject of this study is a 50-year-old Caucasian female who began using methamphetamine and cannabis at age 15. The Literature Review addresses the etiology, symptoms, and treatment of the cooccurring disorders of complicated grief and addiction. Complicated grief disorder and two similar models are examined. Complicated grief and addiction share some biological bases and developmental origins. Cognitive deficits and negative affects are associated with methamphetamine use. Key concepts and major principles that informed my work include the concepts of ambiguous loss and imaginal structures, the principle that children growing up with addicted parents face difficulties maturing into adulthood, and relying on motherhood as an adult identity leaves women economically vulnerable. Additionally, the concepts of transference and countertransference informed my vi understanding of therapy. I found that the literature did not adequately address factors that heal complicated grief. The treatment progressed from working with the client’s grief to addressing her legal difficulties. Her children had been in the custody of her former husband for six years, and she missed them constantly. Imaginal approaches to therapy supported the client’s goals through objective caring. Therapy took several forms to help the client overcome her limitations through creativity and imagination. I learned that her early life gave her few skills to cope with adversity. Additionally, I learned that understanding my own affective reactions, especially as they mirrored those of the client, gave me a clearer understanding about how to respond effectively. The Hymn to Demeter, an ancient myth that closely mirrored my client’s affective reactions, provided insight into how the client found resolution to her grief through corrective action and restoration of personal authority. This Clinical Case Study shows how my client’s individual difficulties became confounded as a co-occurring disorder. The client did not quit using drugs during treatment. Future studies could discover other approaches to loosening the Gordian knot of co-occurring disorders that include grief

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: David Westwood
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:35
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:35

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