Embracing Transference

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Byrne, May
Issue Date
MA in Addiction Studies
Dublin Business School
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This thesis examines the role of psychoanalysis in the treatment of addiction, this is done by exploring psychoanalytic principles that are particularly relevant to addiction treatment, those of transference, repression and drive. As Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis, his theory is the main one that is drawn on for the discussion. Lacanian theory is explored where it supports and adds to the Freudian. Methadone maintenance treatment is used as a point of reference and chapter one examines the social and political discourse of methadone maintenance treatment programmes through an investigation of the consequences to the individual and society of treating heroin by purely chemical means, without any psychotherapeutic intervention. Chapter two cites the opinions of professionals of various therapeutic and psychotherapeutic persuasions, from cognitive behaviourism to psychoanalysis regarding the role of the treatment provider within addiction treatment. It appears to be becoming more widely accepted that the client/treatment provider relationship is important in the treatment, and lends support to the proposition that the transference makes an significant contribution to the treatment. Chapter three explores in detail the role of psychoanalysis in addiction treatment, through an examination of the Freudian theories of drive, repression and transference, with support from Lacan and his theory of desire. Transference is the nucleus of this final chapter, and here the theory that this thesis supports is illuminated.