Human personality development consists of a dynamic and interactive engagement between our inner “self” (what we feel and believe inwardly) and the external realities of our environment. This process began at birth and will continue until we die. There are occasions when the external world intrudes rudely, coldly and even violently on one’s experience of selfhood (identity), causing serious harm to their sense of security, identity and well-being. Neglect and/or abuse (physical or emotional), illness, injury, failure or disappointment can force one to feel dislocated, displaced, or “less than a whole person”.
Every human being experiences SOME “dislocation” in the process of growth and development. With the support of family and friends, the human psyche has the creative capacity to move on through these developmental “bumps”. Some of the events or circumstances can be significant, however, generating painful memories and even stimulate “adaptive behaviour” that may be stressful and unproductive.
If the “dislocating” experience is painful enough (physically or psychologically), and sustained over time, the adaptive adjustment may include “hiding from the discomfort” through addictive behaviour, including substance abuse. The maladaptive behaviour is often hidden even from ourselves. Others see it while we are blind to it.
ALL humans have SOME addictive behaviour. This includes the things we do or say to cover for that part of our life which feels inadequate, embarrassing, shameful or grief-laden. Too often we take a “holier-than-thou” attitude toward those caught up in substance abuse addiction – drugs, alcohol, food etc. The difference is only in degree of addiction. Sex, shopping, work, violence, depression, grief and self-imposed social isolation can all be classified as forms of addictive behaviour. Anything one is doing to AVOID the pain of feeling “dislocated” from being a whole person, can be thought of as an addiction.
The INTENSIVE JOURNAL program is an effective, non-judgemental, non-dogmatic, self-help method for enabling persons to successfully integrate the richness of their past (the good, the bad and the ugly) into a hopeful NOW.