Addictions Treatment with
a Jungian Foundation

"There is a metaphor at the heart of every addiction. Getting to the meaning of the metaphor leads to understanding the spiritual energy that has tried to reach the soul through the addiction." -Marion Woodman


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It has been said that our society today demands addiction, that if we haven't learned how to be a good addict by the time we reach adulthood, we'll be out of place in this culture. Although many of us have addictive tendencies, a full scale addiction is the point where we become trapped in the cycle-frantically trying to fill our internal emptiness (or silence our discomfort) with our chosen substance or behavior.

From a Jungian perspective, addiction is the wrong way of reaching the right thing. Jungians understand addiction as a religious or spiritual search that has gone amuck, a quest for the infinite in a form that does not satisfy. Jungian analyst Marion Woodman teaches that addicts try to escape ordinary humanity and lift from the mundane realm of matter up into the high realm of spirit. She says addicts want to take a short cut into something more sublime and transcendent.

Given that we all have a fundamental need for connecting with something larger than ourselves, the question is how and where we do it -whether legitimately, or faking it through a needle, a bottle, or a behavior.

Robert Johnson puts it succinctly by saying, "The only hope for healing an addiction is to offer a better form of ecstasy, to upgrade so the addict will give up the stupid one." Is the chocoholic looking for sweetness? Is the alcoholic looking for spirit? Is the sex addict looking for unconditional connection? Is the bulimic looking for purification? Is the compulsive collector looking for security? When we understand the metaphor behind an addiction, then and only then, can we start work to help the addict find a higher grade version of his or her quest.

During the past decades, dozens of organizations have followed the model of Alcoholics Anonymous in creating supportive environments for recovering addicts of all descriptions. Clients already involved in a 12-step recovery program will find InnerWork Psychotherapy to be very compatible.

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