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Title: The experience of committing to abstinence from substance use for young adults living in a residential detoxification centre
Author: Tulino, Maria
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2013
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The purpose of this study was to gain a deep phenomenological understanding of how young adults living in a detoxification centre for people with no fixed abode made the life changing decision to free themselves from substance use and provide insights that could be helpful for counselling psychologists working therapeutically with this client group. An exploratory study was conducted using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The participants were between the ages of 25 and 29 years old (1 female and 5 males). All participants had spent 6 weeks in the detoxification centre at the time the interview took place. Two specific areas were pinpointed for exploration during the semi-structured interviews: (1) self-concept before entering the project and after having entered the project and been abstinent for at least 6 weeks, and (2) possible links between homelessness and substance use. Emerging themes were clustered in terms of polarities and existential dimensions. Four superordinate themes comprising of eight existential polarities were extrapolated: control-chaos; connectedness-disconnection; meaning-meaninglessness; responsibility-guilt. The data analysis revealed participants’ struggle to resolve the conflict between these polarities. Identity issues seemed to be crucial, as well as a sense of having lost touch with or possibly never developed an authentic self and a struggle to live and accept emotions in the present moment. Another aspect that emerged was difficulties in grieving losses as well as death anxiety. Connecting with others and caring about oneself seemed to be closely linked and conducive to wellbeing in participants’ experience of abstinence from substance use. On the basis of this study recommendations are made for professionals working therapeutically with this group of clients. These include taking an existential approach and using mindfulness techniques to support clients to accept the polarities we experience in life and to develop the capacity to embrace the contradictions of our existence.
Supervisor: Sinclair, Jennifer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Homeless Youth--Mental Health ; Homeless Youth--Services for ; Substance Abuse--Patients--Counseling of ; Substance abuse-Treatment ; Young Adults--Substance Use