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Title: Understanding former heroin users' experience of change : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Tye, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 7643
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2018
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This study aimed to explore the experiences of those who have been involved in change from problematic heroin use and how they have made sense out of their experiences. Seven participants, who had been abstinent from heroin for a minimum of two years were interviewed about their experience of change. Practicing drug workers were chosen who had previously used heroin and were now employed to support individuals who were still using drugs. In this way they represented former drug users who had made significant long-term change. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Three superordinate themes were identified, which were, ‘Making sense of change’, ‘Identity, Relationships and Lifestyle’ and ‘Internal Distress’. A number of subthemes were also identified for each superordinate theme. Implications for substance misuse and Counselling Psychology included increasing awareness of the complexity and factors involved in change and appreciating change from former heroin users’ perspectives. This challenged current and more popularly-held perspectives consistent with political and organisational agendas which focus upon costs associated with heroin use. Factors such as a change of mind-set, identification of avoidance behaviours to manage emotional pain and distress and finding alternative ways of managing pain may also apply to other forms of change, such as other forms of addictions and weight loss. Implications for Counselling Psychology included a consideration of self-transformation and the factors which may initiate behavioural change and the importance of appreciating ongoing aspects of change including identity, relationships and lifestyle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Couns.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Heroin ; Addiction ; IPA ; Change ; Recovery