Freud Meets Bill W: A Model for the Dynamics of Alcoholics Anonymous

ISSN: 2210-6774 (Online)
ISSN: 2210-6766 (Print)

Volume 6, 4 Issues, 2016

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Adolescent Psychiatry

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Lois T. Flaherty
Harvard University Medical School
Cambridge, MA

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Freud Meets Bill W: A Model for the Dynamics of Alcoholics Anonymous

Adolescent Psychiatry, 1(2): 140-145.

Author(s): Charles E Goldberg.

Affiliation: 3930 Knowles Ave, Ste 205, Kensington, MD 20895-2428, USA.


Historically there has been a lamentably wide gap between Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Although each has a distinct language, they actually utilize parallel principles. This paper is an attempt to integrate the two fields, using clinical examples from an inpatient unit for chemically dependent adolescents. Each of the Twelve Steps is equated with a psychodynamic mechanism. For example, the First Step, admitting powerlessness, is equated with the defense mechanism of denial.


Adolescents, substance use disorders, alcohol use disorders, therapy, residential treatment, psychoanalytic theory, defense mechanisms, Alcoholics Anonymous, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychodynamic mechanism.

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Article Details

Volume: 1
Issue Number: 2
First Page: 140
Last Page: 145
Page Count: 6
DOI: 10.2174/2210676611101020140
Price: $58

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