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The lived body of drug addiction
Malmö University, Faculty of Health and Society (HS), Department of Social Work (SA).
2020 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

What is it like to be a drug addict and what can be important when it comes to recovering from a drug addiction? These are not only interesting but also important issues for a social worker. An important prerequisite for being able to help someone is that I understand and empathize with the one that I am trying to help. Therefore this is central questions for the social worker are to answer.

 How, then, can we understand the direct experience of being a drug addict? One way to approach an answer is to start to describe how a “healthy” consciousness is constructed and then compare it to one that is drug dependent. This comparison can provide important insight into the general subjective experience of being stuck in a drug addiction.

 One important thing that emerges from such a comparison is the drug addict's first-person experience. In this first-person-experience of being a drug addict we will find a description of the experience of a relationship to oneself, their body and their surroundings which are characterized by a deep ambivalence. An experience of being socially alienated, trapped in an unreliable and painful "object-body" that is stuck in a constant ongoing now where the only thing that can give the addict a break from this pointless, unbearable existence is to use more drugs (Kemp 2018, 2009).

 

As earlier described, an important part of recovery from this meaningless existence is to be understood by the one who will help me. Being understood and being able to share my experience with another, in this case a social worker, gives me an experience that I am no longer alone in knowing my existence, which can help to break the social alienation (Kemp 2018, Topor et al 2008). It will also be an opportunity to be able to address experiences of ambivalence, experience of oneself, the body and the outside world (social relationships, etc.).

It has been known for a long time that it is important to be understood and treated with empathy, many believe that it is even more important than the form of treatment method (Duncan, B., Hubble, M., Miller, S. 2004). What is new about this text is the suggestion that we should not to take empathy for granted. That we need to work with the concept of empathy so that the social workers actively can empathize with and be able to reflect phenomenological to their clients in a more structured way. But why should we stop there? What if we give the phenomenological empathy training (Englander 2014) to the social workers as well as their clients? Would this be beneficial for the clients, to be able to understand their social world better?  Could this help them in their recovery from there drug addiction?

 

1.       Englander, M. & Folkesson, A. (2014). Evaluating the phenomenological approach to empathy training. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, No. 3, Vol. 54, 294-313

2.       Kemp, R. (2018) Transcending Addiction, An existential pathway to recovery. New York Routledge: New York, 142, s. 

3.       Kemp, R. (2009). The Lived-Body of Drug Addiction. Existential Analysis 20.1: January 2009

4.       Topor, Borg, Mezzina, Sells, Marin, Davidsson (2006). Others: The role of family, Friends, And Professionals in the Recovery Process. American Journal of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, 9: 17-37

5.       Duncan, B., Hubble, M., Miller, S. (2004). The heart and soul of change. What works in therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020.
Keywords [en]
lived body, drug addiction, phenomenology, recovery
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-57790OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-57790DiVA, id: diva2:1730415
Conference
NERA, 4-6 March 2020, University of Turku, Finland
Available from: 2023-01-24 Created: 2023-01-24 Last updated: 2023-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Boregren, Mikael

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