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Meers, D.R. (1995). Chapter 8: A Child Analyst Looks at Addictive Behavior. The Psychology and Treatment of Addictive Behavior, 147-162.

Meers, D.R. (1995). Chapter 8: A Child Analyst Looks at Addictive Behavior. The Psychology and Treatment of Addictive Behavior , 147-162

Chapter 8: A Child Analyst Looks at Addictive Behavior Book Information Previous Up Next

Dale R. Meers, Ph.D.

A generation ago sexual promiscuity, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse were understood as symptomatic forms of acting out, forms of self-medication that were antithetic to psychoanalytic treatment. Clinical experience was persuasive: patients with impulse ridden character neuroses acted out their symptoms, rationalizing their conduct to defend against insight. Those who used alcohol and drugs added pharmacological insult to psycho-pathological impairment of ego functions since they biologically undermined reality testing in drug induced magical thinking.

A generation ago, in the years immediately preceding my child analytic training in London, and in the best tradition of Aichorn and Redl, I worked chaotic twelve-hour days with neurotic, delinquent, acting-out, working-class adolescent males. My retreat to quiet academic research and the elegance of training in analysis of (mere) symptom neuroses seemed a very reasonable trade-off for the fourteen-hour days that we who identified with Anna Freud shared with her at Hampstead.


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