Facing Your Powerlessness in Addiction Recovery

Because some imbalance of power may be inevitable and is considered by some as beneficial to therapeutic change, counselors ought to practice caution and awareness when exploring the dynamics of their relationships with clients. This may be accomplished by working to address and confront power positions and possible feelings of powerlessness, both outside of the counseling relationship as well as between the counselor and the client. This is particularly critical when the counseling relationship includes a cross-racial or cross-gender dyad. When do people voice opposition to social systems that disadvantage them, and when do they, paradoxically, support them? Recent research suggests that feelings of powerfulness play a critical role in whether people take on these systems of oppression.

But instead of finding the power within themselves, they try to control other people or external circumstances which they have no control over. The truth is we cannot control how other people perceive us or how they act, think, and feel. Rather than changing other people, control our own perception and action.

Alienation: Psychosociological Tradition

In clinical settings, psychological conditions may be better understood when issues of power, such as powerlessness or helplessness, are considered. The tendency of those in privileged positions to ignore, disregard, or pathologize the experiences of marginalized people can have damaging effects on the counselor-client relationship. In counseling, therapists may work to focus on patient’s strengths, which can be a way of knowing and problem solving that relates to modification of this tendency to pathologize targeted people.

The construct of dominant discourse can be used to investigate how unrecognized cultural assumptions surround counseling theory and the practice of therapy. People’s examination of their own biased realities and practices influences the shaping of larger social contexts powerless over alcohol examples and the underlying values of those individuals. The understanding of this concept is critical to the professional development of counselors and counselors in training, particularly those who are from dominant cultures in society, such as White counselors.

Probable Future Directions of Alienation Theory and Research

These continuous feelings of powerlessness may lead one to then enter into situations that repeat experiences of powerlessness, such as engaging in a relationship with an abusive person. Powerlessness may also become internalized and lead people to self-abusive behaviors, compulsive behaviors, or depression. Therapists and counselors are equipped with an array of skills to work effectively with clients. In counseling, it is not unusual for imbalances of power to surface. The historical view of therapy is similar to the medical model of illness, in which those seeking mental health services are seen with regard to symptom presentation and are subsequently prescribed a treatment to reduce those symptoms. This view of mental health focuses on mental health disorders as illnesses that require a cure to solve the presenting problems.

  • Current research with neurobiofeedback and addictive disorders is geared toward the use of EEG feedback to enhance one component of a cognitive behavioral therapy scheme.
  • Although the electricity was administered at exactly the same intensity, the participants’ loss of control over their pain made the experience considerably more unpleasant, resulting in greater fear and distress, and a reduced ability to concentrate.
  • Our hope is merely to capture the spirit of the fellowships, and to approach people with the language they commonly use to describe the disease of addiction.
  • To correctly attribute causality, this powerlessness is more appropriately termed ‘taught helplessness’ (Hammell 1995).
  • Michel Foucault and others have argued that power should not and cannot be interpreted as a possession, an entity, or an object; rather, Foucault suggests that power is present only from its exercise within the structure of society or a particular point in time.

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