The Dynamogenic Effect

William James was coined as a “Father of Psychology” of the Western Hemisphere in the early 20th century. He wrote in one of his famous text books a chapter on “The Law of Mental Dynamogenesis”. The Law of Dynamogenesis states simply that “One stimulation in motion reinforces another already underway.”

In terms of the Refocus Advanced Recovery philosophy, it means that the premise of the Dynamogenic Model describes the client who has come to my office after multiple years of what outwardly seems like successful recovery from addiction. The caller has most likely suffered trauma at some point and has turned to substances to eradicate the resulting psychic pain.

Recovery from substances was driven by the need to achieve thereby proving to themselves and the world they are ok. Unable to let their guard down, our prospect may have created a pseudo successful life as an extension of addiction recovery. Achieving what many only dream about was not enough for the exhausted over achiever. The expected sense of success always rang hollow. An all encompassing belief of not being good enough has patiently dogged them all of their lives, and followed like a shadow into addiction recovery. They have attempted to figure out the source but the hunt has only left them unsatisfied and resentful, a victim of a past fashioned by the hands of others. Attempts to high achieve a way out have failed miserably only to confirm what was known all along; “I am a failure”.

Successful addiction treatment resulted in understanding the reason for the suffering and gave a sense that the remedy for this lifelong companion of fear has finally been found. There is wildly hopeful feeling that gold has been struck! “Now that I know why I am the way I am I will be able to conquer it!”

But the win is always short lived. Finding that knowing why a thing is, will not necessarily get one well from another. Perceived failures continued to stack up, making them even more painful. The mantra becomes, “your just not good enough” and it rings louder and louder until you can no longer stand it. The idea of giving up and surrendering to addiction is becoming much more inviting. I have sat countless times with completely defeated clients asking me , “Is this all there is?”. Nobody even knows who they really are underneath all the bravado.

Unknown to them this is the very beginning of true freedom. You must be in substance recovery before exploring the root cause of your addiction. You must have a sturdy foundation before erecting the walls of your spiritual home. In other words as William James explained his Dynamogenic Effect, “One stimulation in motion reinforces another already underway.” In order to address the core issues of your life you needed to be in addiction recovery. Bandaiding will not get it.

If this account rings true in some or all ways, you have come upon a fork in the road. If it is one last desperate clutching at straws so be it. Before you decide to exit stage left, call me. You just might have found the way out without a final exit.

Again my name is Linda Shaw, text, call, email or use the contact form on this site. Refocus, Explore and uncover who you really are and and find the discovery of You!!


Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: