Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Dynamics of alcoholism and addiction in the family system and Relational Family Therapy

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.09.00  Social sciences  Psychology   

Code Science Field
5.01  Social Sciences  Psychology and cognitive sciences 
alcoholism, addiction, family, relational family therapy, psychotherapy
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (10)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  26123  PhD Robert Cvetek  Theology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  161 
2.  18052  PhD Christian Gostečnik  Psychology  Retired researcher  2020 - 2023  1,187 
3.  36602  PhD Drago Jerebic  Theology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  449 
4.  36601  PhD Sara Jerebic  Psychology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  523 
5.  34472  PhD Tanja Pate  Psychology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  94 
6.  32758  PhD Saša Poljak Lukek  Psychology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  111 
7.  28518  PhD Tanja Repič Slavič  Psychology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  200 
8.  36724  PhD Nataša Rijavec Klobučar  Theology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  126 
9.  25440  PhD Barbara Simonič  Theology  Head  2020 - 2023  439 
10.  50839  PhD Tanja Valenta  Psychology  Researcher  2020 - 2023  52 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0170  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Theology  Ljubljana  1627112  12,058 
2.  2333  Franciscan Family Institute  Ljubljana  5931983  177 
The research project Dynamics of Alcoholism and Addiction in the Family System and Relational Family Therapy focuses on exploring deeper emotional dynamics and relational processes that are present when confronting the family system with alcoholism in at least one of its members, while also exploring therapeutic work with alcoholism and addiction and its consequences in the family system. Alcoholism, which devastatingly affects all family members, is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. Its complexity is primarily evident in the psychodynamics among addicts and their family members. The traits of these psychodynamics must be considered if we want to understand the development of addiction and the dynamics of sustaining addiction, as well as in the treatment of addicts and their relatives. Underlying alcoholism is unconscious defensive behaviour when one becomes addicted when unconsciously trying to regulate difficult internal emotional states that may stem from unprocessed past experiences. Similar dysfunctional forms of emotion regulation are present in alcoholic family members, intimate partners (co-dependence), and children who carry these patterns into adulthood. At the core of the addictive behaviour of the alcoholic and his relatives is therefore dysfunctional regulation of emotional and affective states. The research project will focus on the psychodynamics of alcoholism and addiction (the dynamics of its development, sustenance, and termination) from the perspective of the relational family therapy (RFT) paradigm. RFT is classified as a modern psychotherapy approach. Based on theoretical guidelines and numerous studies, RFT has been proven effective in processing and solving psychobiological contents related to various issues, such as trauma and abuse. Within this framework, the project will explore three areas: deeper emotional dynamics and traits of relationships in addicts and their family members from the perspective of past experiences, effectiveness and efficiency of RFT in coping with the effects of alcoholism and addiction on addicts and their family members, and the process (key interventions and changes) of RFT in working with alcoholics and their family members. Results will be obtained through both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative data will be obtained through verified and reliable questionnaires that measure specific dimensions, such as: inappropriate use of alcohol, identifying adult children of alcoholics, quality of relationships in the family of origin, current family and child, individual problems and strengths, quality of intimate relationship, emotional processing functionality and childhood trauma. Participants in the quantitative part will attend therapy sessions and will fill the questionnaires at the beginning and end of the therapeutic process. Similarly, questionnaires will be filled out (only once) by selected participants in the general population, who will be divided into a clinical and control group according to their own or their parents’ drinking problems. The qualitative part will consist of exploring the traits of the therapeutic process and exploring the characteristics of psychodynamics in self-perception, emotional processes and relationships between alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics. The main objective of the research project is to investigate psychological mechanisms from the perspective of RFT that help understand, identify and transform the deepest dynamics of addiction, which can prevent further addiction and reduce the severity of addiction effects. We expect that the results of the project will provide a new scientific contribution in the field of RFT model, while providing a new insight into the problems of alcoholism and addiction dynamics in the family system and contributing to the development of therapeutic and other work in the field of addiction.
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