The Potentialities and Realities of Recovering from Developmental Trauma

Lowe, Cynthia (2010) The Potentialities and Realities of Recovering from Developmental Trauma. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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This dissertation explores recovery from developmental trauma, and specifically gathered the experience of developmentally traumatized adults. The Research Problem posed the question, “What psychological movement, however momentary, can occur when subjectivities associated with developmental trauma are engaged?” The hypothesis stated, “When various subjectivities associated with developmental trauma are engaged through expressive arts, identification with limiting aspects of those stories can be released, generating images of psychological space, freedom, flexibility and possibility.” The study’s literature review addresses various perspectives of the etiology of traumatic symptoms and treatment, including psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, and humanistic/existential/art-based sections. The techniques that stem from the aforementioned perspectives are compared and contrasted. A historical look is taken at the rise and fall of optimism regarding whether and the degree to which people can recover from trauma. Lastly, the main tenets of Imaginal Psychology are explicated. Imaginal Inquiry and its four phases—Evoking, Expressing, Interpreting and Integrating experience—was the research methodology used in this study. Storywriting, iv guided meditation, artmaking, and dialoguing with subjectivities were used to facilitate the methodology. The cumulative learning of the study is that psychological movement, however momentary, can occur with apparent ease when engaging various subjectivities through expressive arts in participants who have had little experience with the engagement of subjectivities. Learning One states that even though participants were still keenly aware of the lingering symptoms they were left with despite extensive work in personal psychotherapy, stories of their therapy were largely positive and hopeful. Learning Two states that deep emotionality may indicate progress in disidentification. Learning Three expresses that surprise can be an indication that psychological movement has occurred. Learning Four proposes that many of the participants whose prior experience with psychotherapy was limited to traditional talk therapy which did not support the development of psychological multiplicity had developed compassionate, protective, and /or understanding subjectivities in therapy without having conscious awareness of these. The learnings are significant because they detail the movement of the unconscious using a participatory modality. Mythological perspectives such as those told by ancient Greeks and modern Buddhists, and espoused by Carl Jung are used as lenses through which to more deeply understand the psychological phenomena explored here.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Cynthia Lowe
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:50
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:50

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