Dissertation Title:

Re-visioning Addiction through the Excavation of Soul


Laura Maneates

Date, Time & Place:

June 29, 2023 at 3:00 pm


This dissertation examines the problem of substance addiction from a depth psychological perspective. It explores how sustainable recovery can be initiated in the treatment of substance addiction through the excavation of soul as a vehicle for healing trauma, loss of meaning, and connection with spirit. Using hermeneutic methodology, the study examines the conundrum of a high rate of addiction relapse to bring to light the shortcomings in recovery programs and treatment centers and the revolving door for those caught in a cycle of addiction. The research investigated the Twelve-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the current cognitive-behavioral approaches used by most recovery centers, societal stigma, and the neuroscience of addiction. Five case studies of group and individual therapy involving men residing in a long-term recovery center for addiction were presented to explore the efficacy of a depth psychological approach to treatment. The results demonstrate that the use of depth psychological therapeutic methods allowed for the differentiation and integration of unconscious content— including transferences and defense mechanisms, as well as complexed shadow material, archetypal images, and numinous experiences—that led to significant psychological shifts toward sustainable recovery. The discussion of the findings conceptualizes a Step Beyond the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, a step into the excavation of soul and the transcendent realm of the collective unconscious, the numinous Self and its spiritual drive toward psychological wholeness.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Psychotherapy, T, 2013
  • Chair: Dr. Lionel Corbett
  • Reader: Dr. Christine Lewis
  • External Reader: Dr. Ashok Bedi
  • Keywords: Addiction, Soul, Spirit, Recovery, Trauma, Twelve-step Program, Depth Psychology, Neuroscience, Transcendent Function, Archetypes, Dreams, Numinous, Nature, Step Beyond