Adult children of alcoholics: Attachment, object relations and dependency patterns and implications for treatment

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Zukowska, Agnieszka
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This research set out to explore attachment, object relations and dependency patterns in Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA). An outline of what it means to be an ACA is examined, along with research into difficulties experienced by many children of alcoholics from their infancy. Results of numerous research in the field of attachment, object relations and dependency are discussed, showing significant differences between ACA and individuals who grew up in functional families, and similarities with people from other types of dysfunctional families. There are a number of interventions available for ACA treatment, with various clinicians proposing different approaches. Regardless of the style chosen, the aim needs to be helping the ACA understand the increased vulnerability that may be a consequence of growing up in an alcoholic household, and help ACAs see possibilities of change and support their move towards this change. The mixture of individual and group treatment helps to create more robust support and address a wider range of pathologies.