Transformations: Consciousness Expansion and Addictions Treatment
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This project will explore how consciousness studies can inform and enrich current approaches to the treatment of addictions. Consciousness has historically been neglected in the study of psychology as it is difficult to study using traditional scientific methods. Currently there has been a renewed interest in the study of consciousness and this research project examines how information gleaned from consciousness research can help understand the process of addiction and recovery. Specifically, the project focuses on the utility of framing addiction as a problem of restricted consciousness. In conceptualizing addiction in this manner, treatment is seen as a process of consciousness expansion. This study attempts to examine the process of consciousness expansion and identify those aspects of treatment that promote it. Models of consciousness are discussed as well as the role of spirituality in the development of higher states of consciousness. A comparison is made between Eastern descriptions of consciousness and empirical studies of consciousness from Western psychology. The relationship between the process of consciousness expansion and the development of the Self is explored with particular emphasis on the work of Carl Jung and his views related to addictions and treatment. It is hoped that suggestions for treatments that foster the development of consciousness, as well as an understanding of the value of conceptualizing addiction as a problem of restricted consciousness, will emerge from the study.