Constructing Recovery from Addiction


This form of research is sometimes called “modelling”, wherein the researcher gathers detailed information about the subject’s internal processes of reality construction, in terms of internally generated sensory representations, such as pictures, self talk and somatic  markers of emotion, visceral activity and arousal. This “data” is then explored in how it holds together and operates sequentially and systemically, contained and directed within the individual’s belief systems, motivating values and identity narrative.

Characteristic of people’s language when they speak of these normally unconscious dynamic constructs of psychological self-governance is that they often offer descriptions in symbol and story, making information of this kind creatively transferable for other people’s use in their own subjective meaning-making processes.

Modelling in a formal or informal way is used across the spectrum of experiential therapies, often going by different names. Its development into a scientifically informed art is largely credited to the developers of Neuro-Linguistic Programming where modelling the client’s structures of subjective experience in sensory terms empowers their flexibility and awareness in how they structure and experience their reality, and therefore behave within the world. This increases their cognitive and somatic alignment to make congruent, teleological, or “outcome oriented”, choices (Dilts, 1998).

This approach defines therapeutic purpose as facilitating an increase in awareness to the sensory feedback of experience that in turn informs greater flexibility in adaptive processes towards fulfilment of meaningful values (Wake, 2007).

Such a definition of healthy state is directly polar to the experience of the person suffering with dependency. Dependency states are characterised by rigidity in thinking and behaving, with a breakdown of the human cybernetic feedback-response loop, separating thinking from emotional and sensory experience, so that perceptions of self, others and the world are distorted (Gilligan, 1997).

Modelling can also be used to deconstruct and therefore digest at a deeper level, the constructs of a culture or theory base, discerning the patterns that make constructs applicable and effective in different contexts (DeLozier, Grinder, 1987). These “maps” are evaluated according to their usefulness in helping us navigate the “territory” of our experiential and relational life, in alignment with contextually sensitive priorities. So modelling recovery culture was also a part of my endeavour.

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