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January 2022

An existential model for promoting life change - Confronting the disease concept

Journal/Book: J Subst Abuse Treat. 1996; 13: The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England OX5 1GB. Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd. 151-158.

Abstract: This paper outlines an existentially based psychoeducational model for dealing with substance abuse clients' questions concerning the possibility of successful behavior change. Clients frequently misinterpret the ''disease model'' as meaning that they are powerless Victims of addiction. Clients' readiness to change can be enhanced by providing them with a coherent method of conceptualizing the task of rehabilitation, one that explains how change is possible in spite of the ''disease model'' of addiction, rather than the confusing mix of self-help, ''bootstrap'' philosophy and ''disease'' talk presented in many rehabilitation programs. Productive methods of dealing with clients' guilt are presented, along with the need to develop a positive purpose in life as an essential aspect of effective relapse management.

Note: Article GG Ford, Stephen F Austin State Univ, Dept Psychol, POB 13046, Nacogdoches, TX 75962 USA

Keyword(s): substance abuse treatment; existentialism; behavior change; relapse prevention; disease model; ALCOHOLOGISTS ADDICTION; ALCOHOLISM; BEHAVIORS; RELAPSE; HEALTH


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