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Children of Alcoholism

The Struggle for Self and Intimacy in Adult Life

Barbara Wood

Publication Year: 1989

In this sensitive and richly rewarding book Barbara L. Wood, a clinician with many years' experience working with adult children of the chemically dependent, gives clinicians informed and practical advice on how to treat the damaged self of these individuals. She offers strategies for intervention, along with step-by-step principles that tell the therapist how best to create an environment to help patients.

Published by: NYU Press

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pp. ix-xii

Contemporary approaches to psychopathology reflect a substantial disatisfaction with classical attempts to explain psychic suffering as simply a clash between human drives for libidinal and aggressive satisfactions and societal pressures for the repression and sublimation of these innate forces. Many of the most ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

I was introduced to Object Relations theory and Self Psychology while attending classes at the Association for Psychoanalytic Study in Washington, D.C. I am grateful for the comprehensive course of study provided by the Association and for their educational philosophy, which encourages the open,...

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CHAPTER 1. Alcoholism and Co-Dependence

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pp. 1-15

The prevalence of addictive disorders in the United States today challenges mental health professionals in complex and frustrating ways. Current research and theory in this field are concerned principally with unlocking the riddle of psychic and physical compulsion, but the solution remains elusive. ...

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CHAPTER 2. Co-Dependent Children: Caught in an Infinite Loop

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pp. 7-13

The concept of the infinite loop comes from the field of computer science and refers to a programming error that leads to the perpetual and unsuccessful recapitulation of an algorithm, or problem-solving procedure. This is an apt metaphor for the lives of adult children of alcoholics, who seem to possess, as the...

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CHAPTER 3. A Structural Approach to Understanding Psychopathology

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pp. 14-38

Object relations theory and Self Psychology link psychopathology to adverse conditions in the childhood home that inhibit the maturation of key structures in the psyche. The immaturity of these structures, along with the disintegration and disharmony among them that is the result of ongoing ...

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CHAPTER 4. Using Structural Theories to Understand Adult Children

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pp. 39-70

Many adult children of alcoholics complain that they have little or no sense of themselves as individuals, possessed of a unique self and a purpose that transcends family need. One young nurse, for example, after spending the greater part of her childhood and all of her twenties ministering to the ...

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CHAPTER 5. The Restoration of Psychic Structure in Psychotherapy

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pp. 71-105

The British object relations theorists, and Heinz Kohut, proposed models of psychotherapy that aim to uncover, clarify, and strengthen key aspects of psychic structure that have been distorted or badly damaged in struggles with parents. These theorists have all suggested that certain critical aspects of...

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CHAPTER 6. Clinical Strategies for Use with Adult Children

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pp. 106-143

One of my patients entered therapy in her early twenties in order to work through the suicide of her alcoholic and tranquilizer-dependent mother, who had committed suicide when my patient was 15. This young woman could never adequately mourn her mother's loss, because her father was completely ..

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CHAPTER 7. When the Family Hero Turns Pro: The Adult Child in the Helping Professions

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pp. 144-156

Many children from alcoholic homes sacrifice a substantial portion of their selfhood in order to minister to the physical and psychic needs of their parents, or parent-surrogates. They are moved to this sacrifice by love and compassion for their parents, by their fear of losing their parents, ...


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pp. 157-160


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pp. 161-166

E-ISBN-13: 9780814770511
E-ISBN-10: 0814770517
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814792223
Print-ISBN-10: 0814792227

Page Count: 182
Publication Year: 1989