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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Sweet, A.D. (2013). Aspects of Internal Self and Object Representations in Disorganized Attachment: Clinical Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Chronic and Relapsing Substance Misusers. Brit. J. Psychother., 29(2):154-167.

(2013). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 29(2):154-167

Aspects of Internal Self and Object Representations in Disorganized Attachment: Clinical Considerations in the Assessment and Treatment of Chronic and Relapsing Substance Misusers

Alistair D. Sweet, MA (PsyA), MSSc, Dip.Couns (PsyD), MBACP

In clinical theory and practice we rarely find an isomorphic fit between early patterns of attachment and discrete clinical disorders or syndromes. Although a linear equivalence is not implied here the author draws out parallels between early disorganized attachment patterns, the internal world of the substance abuser and the ways in which such psychodynamic processes invariably shape and influence the therapeutic encounter. Exploring further Main and Hesse's (1990) assertion that the essence of disorganized attachment can be summed up as fright without solution, the author develops the idea that active and repeated drug use represents attempts to anaesthetically freeze the self, and in so doing to disable and paralyse internal object imagos that induce feelings of panic, terror and dread. In addition the ingestion of drugs, as other writers on the subject have observed (Rosenfeld, 1965), often provides a type of internal inflation of the fragile self, leading to a sense of omnipotent and omniscient superiority on behalf of the substance abusing patient.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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