Family Treatment of Drug Abusers

  • David K. Wellisch


To properly address the family treatment of the early adolescent versus that of the late adolescent/young adult drug abuser, a brief excursion into the developmental issues of these two stages becomes necessary. Although these two periods are separated by a small number of years, they are separated by important and pivotal developmental milestones. Of primary importance is the “second individuation process” (Blos, 1967) wherein the adolescent reworks earlier developmental individuation/separation issues. At this point, the adolescent is struggling with broad fluctuations in dependency needs and counter-dependency needs in relation to parents and is getting used to the concept of variable states of emotional dependence on a significant other. Needless to say, if parents cannot tolerate the side of the coin that involves counterdependence, real individuation and separation is hampered. If the parents’ needs are pathological, the adolescent can remain faithful and loyal under the guise of separation by developing a real drug problem, which will endlessly repeat the dependence-counterdependence cycle, a process well described by Stanton (1978).


Family Therapy Family Therapist Drug Abuser Family Treatment Child Focus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. Wellisch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUCLA School of MedicineLos AngelesUSA

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