Edward Khantzian, “Treating Addiction: Beyond the Pain” (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018)


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Treatment of addiction often focuses on abstinence or ‘harm reduction.’ While many people benefit greatly from such approaches, the underlying pain and heartache often go untreated, leaving individuals vulnerable to relapse. Focusing on the emotional undercurrents of addiction can help individuals address, once and for all, the deep-seated factors that drive them to substances in the first place. This approach is explained and elaborated by Dr. Edward Khantzian in his new book, Treating Addiction: Beyond the Pain (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018). In the book, he introduces his ‘self-medication hypothesis’ and explains what it adds to our understanding addiction relative to theories focused solely on pleasure-seeking or self-destruction. In our interview, we discuss how he arrived at this combined humanistic and psychoanalytic approach, and he offers compelling arguments to support its application. This interview will be relevant for anyone who suffers with, treats, or loves someone struggling with substance abuse and dependence.

Dr. Edward Khantzian is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and past president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry. He is distinguished scholar, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, specializing in addictions for more than fifty years.

Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City and Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate of the psychoanalytic training program at William Alanson White Institute and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).

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