International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

Addiction Treatment Through the Lens of Meaning: Observations on a Program Developed in a Residential Facility

Geoffrey R. Thompson, Ph.D

Program Director, Sunshine Coast Health Center


This article describes a meaning-centered therapy developed in a residentialtreatment center for men suffering from addictions and co-occurring disorders.Meaning therapy assumes that addiction is a response to living a life that lackspersonal meaning; therefore, the solution is to help clients pursue a fulfilling life.This article comprises selected observations on the center’s program and itsinfluence on clients. It first describes the vulnerability of those who succumb toaddiction based on a grounded theory thematic analysis conducted at the center,followed by salient principles and practices on how meaning therapy addressesthese vulnerabilities. Secondly, it highlights how the therapy integrates mainstreamtherapies and clinical constructs. Finally, it suggests that the influence of treatmentis to help clients pursue a personally meaningful life, in spite of their struggles.

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