and then....

I'm sorry, but I get very confused by all of this technology stuff so please bear with me.


Okay, I know the work that the Grofs have done and also the stuff that Jung did before them. All of that makes sense and really doesn't need any discussing for me. I guess that my problem comes from trying to introduce something new and untried before into the community.


I will now think out loud for a moment here. Twenty five or seven years ago--a long time ago--I started a needle exchange here in Seattle. I was volunteering at the the exchange downtown and it dawned on me that my neighbourhood could use one of these too. (I was working with people in the final stages of their battle with AIDS and I was kind of sick of seeing the disease spread and I was definitely tired of listening to all of the excuses as to why an exchange wouldn't work or wasn't needed in my neighbourhood even though it really was). And so I got to know the users, became a part of the community (without using I will note), gathered information and date (which helped me get my MA in psychology) and established what is the only independently non-health departmant run needle exchange in Seattle.


In so doing, I got to know a lot of users whom I truly care for. For many of them, the central question they had was "how do we get out of this?" According to the system, there's going through treatment and/or getting on methadone and/or kicking cold turkey. Oh yes, and 12 step meetings from now until the cows retake the planet. Not a vast array of selections. Since then, accupuncture has been added to the mix as has a couple of new drugs the names of which I'm blanking on right now but which are very, very expensive and are thus out of reach for most people. But there's still not a whole bunch of options when you get right down to it.


But maybe that's how it really should be. After all, when we go shopping, do we really need 47 different types of toothpaste? Probally not. But that's the world we live in. So maybe having a couple of more options for people who are trying to get out of the mess that is addiction would help with the situation. Or maybe it wouldn't. I guess that they have to take the first step and we go from there. Wherever that may be. 


So anyways, that's it for now. There may be more later on today....unless that isn't.



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  • Hi Robert,

    I just wanted to add one book review I did back as an MA on a work that took a Jungian approach to recovery. I hope it will be of help to your clients/patients, and thereby to you as well:

    Title       Coyote Speaks

    Author      Jacques Rutzky

    Publisher   Jason Aronson Inc.

          "Cunning" and "baffling" traditionally describe addictions.  Grappling with these characteristics frequently frustrates addicts and their therapists alike.  Luckily, Jacques Rutsky, standing on the shoulders of Dr. Carl Jung, has written a book of "creative strategies" for dealing with the trickster archetype that lurks behind these elusive traits.  The trickster aspect of addiction -- sly and prone to pulling pranks -- is here represented in the primal form of Coyote, who has long been recognized by Native Americans as the trickiest of all animals.  Rutzky shows, through case studies and Native American fables, how therapists can interact with clients when they see Coyote in the cunning and baffling behavior of an addict.

          Coyote may show up in any aspect of the treatment.  He may appear in the high comorbidity of personality disorders, as Rutzky cites in his section on psychological research, or in the failure to pay the therapy fees, which Rutzky admits can be as high as $250 per hour (especially if psychiatry is needed).  Coyote also loves to complicate recovery with bids for pain medication such as hydrocodone (synthetic morphine), when addiction-free pain management is available.  Rutzky shows how this can be an especially dastardly trick in the case of cross-tolerance among narcotics addicts.  Even the phenomenon of reverse tolerance has been cited by Rutzky in addicts whose trickster aspect goads them into a deadly relapse -- when their liver can no longer break down just a small amount of alcohol.

          To stymie the wily Coyote, Rutzky provides a table of symptoms for withdrawal: a whole bag of tricks from which Coyote can pull to entice an addict back to a drug of choice.  This checklist can be a first step in helping a therapist map how Coyote is blocking recovery.  Then to further foil Coyote's efforts, Rutzky offers therapists a diagnostic tool that aids in marking everything from the stage of the disease to its special features -- including the possibilities of dealing and suicide bids.  Using this framework, it is harder for Coyote to hide from the therapist.

          In Rutzky's section on the 10 criteria associated with relapse, therapists learn to pinpoint support systems the recovering addict has and deficits Coyote uses to get a stronghold.  Rutzky goes over the influences of the addict's chosen relationships, family, recovery/treatment, patterns of use, and work life.  He also covers the impact of the drugs of choice, dual diagnosis issues, relapse-prevention plans, basic lifestyle, and the addict's attitude.

          Rutzky gives a clear picture of what it's like to try structuring a contract with a client when Coyote is having his way.  Therapists will see how Coyote bargains, parades, crashes, burns, and rises up from the ashes finally metamorphosed into a Phoenix.  Moreover, since countertransference and codependence have their own Coyote aspects, Rutzky wisely folds these factors into the tales of his clients -- especially in the case of adults traumatized as children.  He is careful to describe both the characteristics of the codependent and the abuses lived by the traumatized client.  At the same time, he uncovers therapist traps: concretizing what may be symbolic for the client, embellishing what the client presents, or playing the hero role.

          Overall, Rutzky has produced a work that is both helpful and readable.  Therapists can use it to look up drug facts, enjoy the escapades of Coyote, or find solace in the familiar stories of clients in denial.  Readers will also appreciate the honesty and candor with which Rutzky reveals his own Coyote aspects and the courage with which he faces the cunning and baffling nature of both addiction and recovery.


  • Congrats on your work!  I believe one of the drugs you're talking about is suboxone. But what if we went back to the roots of what Jung suggested to one of the co-founders of AA, and really helped these people through a personal, spiritual experience of deep recovery--for example, through transpersonal psychotherapy that includes holotropic breathwork, or through a Jungian analysis that includes the use of active imagination? This could be very juicy stuff, if you would like to explore it further or if you've already had clinical experiences to share of this type.

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