Essay: Archetype of the Addict in Narrative

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Innocent Child Archetype

Archetype of the Addict in Narrative

Bennett (year) notes that, "a useful model of personality (or of any other abstract construct) provides lots of hooks to hang lots of observational hats." He explains that the personality is made up of many different components that include value systems, ideals, thoughts, memories, and more. "The entire system is fed from 'underneath' by means of instinctive stirrings, which were identified by Freud and the psychoanalysts as biological drives," by Jung as spiritual potentials, "and by the object relations theorists as kaleidoscopic psychological energies" (year). This whole system impacts us from "above" (year) by forces that have to do with the experiences we've had in life, values and behavioral feedback. Bennett (year) explains this psychodynamic theory using the analogy of hydrology. The understanding of hydrology requires mathematical skills to understand how water can flow through different environments. Bennett (year) posits that we are only "aware of the tiniest fraction of the biological processes that maintain the body's functioning at any given time" (year).

In reference to the patient, a 40-year-old male who has lived most of his life addicted to drugs and alcohol, dismissing (as Palmer (1999) explains) his inner life. The patient, through his addiction to drugs and alcohol, has repressed his life experiences. Bennett (year) explains that repression is more primitive than suppression since "repression involves the fundamental denial of reality, and a kind of profound turning away from the truth" (year). It can thus be suggested that the patient is repressing the bad in hopes of getting to the inner child, the innocent child, when everything in the world seemed better and more hopeful.

Bennett (year) talks about people whose personalities have been organized at the schematic level. People who think that, "life would be better if I had been raised by different parents," or "if society didn't make it so hard to find a good job, I probably wouldn't have turned to drugs." These examples all lead to the idea that the individuals could not form a "coherent self" (year). Bennett (year) notes that in order to develop a true "self," one will need more than just a bunch of schemas; "it requires a complexity of integration presupposing a more mature personality organization" (year).

The patient has been able to fight addiction and he has been clean and sober for the past three years. In helping to treat him, the therapist must discover what his current situation is. Though he has been sober for three years, there are still issues that are plaguing him. He struggles with sobriety every single day, so there is still something that he may be wanting to mask or make go away.

By going into the inner self and discussing early memories and experiences with the patient, this would allow for a greater understanding of his inner child. Bennett (year) discusses the importance in therapy of expressing rather than acting out. If the patient is able to express why he is feeling like he may want to use again, this can help uncover some more primitive information about him.

Having identified the thoughts and feelings that are so forbidden that they result in symptomatic behavior, the therapist has identified an undeveloped representational vector. The therapist begins encouraging the patient to give voice to the undeveloped (split-off) part of the self (Bennett year).

By getting into the deeper thoughts and feelings, we can get closer to the innocent and we can also begin to understand some… [END OF PREVIEW]

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