|About the Book|
Alzheimers is a growing epidemic, which is expected to affect over 100 million people by the year 2050. It is a fatal condition, which progressively impairs the cognitive, behavioral, and physical functions that sustain memory, personality, and the tasks of daily living. To date, there is no cure or effective medical treatment for Alzheimers, and while the scientific field continues to explore the medical possibilities, there is a growing need for more effective methods of clinical care and support. This study attempts to expand upon current medical perspectives by offering a depth psychological view of Alzheimers that can be incorporated into clinical approaches. A hermeneutic method of research is used to explore the conditions unique processes, symptoms, and inner experiences from a teleological perspective, which assumes that meaning and purpose may be contained within the conditions complex manifestations.-The subject matter of this dissertation is approached through the thematic lenses of cultural influences, mythological underpinnings, symptomatic manifestations, states of consciousness, and clinical applications, and the primary theoretical foundations of Jungian psychology, archetypal psychology, process-oriented psychology, and transpersonal psychology are used to inform these thematic lenses and investigations. The study suggests that Alzheimers may function as a personal and collective shadow to Western cultural values, because it challenges the extraordinary value currently placed on youth, productivity, independence, rational thought, and personal identities. These challenges often result in increased fears of the condition, which not only serve to marginalize Alzheimers affected people even further into the margins of society, but also to marginalize everyones unconscious tendencies towards more dependent and less rational ways of functioning.-Collective, archetypal, and imaginal underpinnings of Alzheimers are introduced through the mythological story of Persephone and through investigations into the conditions most pronounced symptoms and disturbances, which are explored as teleological expressions of meaningful psychological material. Investigations into Alzheimers altered states of consciousness suggest that the condition may serve as a transitionary experience from egoic to transpersonal realms of consciousness, and clinical psychotherapeutic approaches are reviewed and examined for their applicability to people experiencing the various stages of Alzheimers. The study is complemented and deepened by numerous quotations and descriptions of peoples first-hand experiences with the condition.