The Necessity of Betrayal in Transformation

Belcher, Steven (2013) The Necessity of Betrayal in Transformation. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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This study explored betrayal as an alchemical medium for transformation. The study's REsearc Problem posed the question, "In What ways does turning towards affective experiences facilitate movement towards the transformative potential inherent in the experience of betrayal and engaging the initiatory threshold?" The reserach hypothesis was that evocation of the betrayal experience reflects and reprises the original sense of anger, shame, and hopelessness, as well as capacity for change. The literature review focuses on affect, spirit, and the dynamic aspects of change and self-awareness. Particular attention is given to attachment and forgiveness theory as well as the seam between affective experience and transformation of the psyche. The learnings address how the act of betrayal is perceived, its capacity to persist and scapegoat long after the event, and the promise of redemption and transformation. The study utilized the subjective and qualitative methodology of Imaginal Inquiry, composed of four phases: evoking, expressing, interpreting, and integrating the research experience. The research employed guided meditation, creative arts, and journaling, to evoke material on the experience of betrayal. The study's cumulative learning was that working through effects that arise from the experience of betrayal allows for movement from loss and ossified postures, to courage and the acknowledgement of shame and anger. Learning one states that the existence of one or more tightly gripped subjectivities will resist healing processes, particularly as manifested in grieving what was lost. Learning Two states that betrayal is built on personal and divergent truths, which can be difficult to change. Learning three states that the betrayed are vulnerable to becoming caught in victim identity. Learning four states that the wound of persecution can catalyze a world of autonomy, self-discovery, and redemption. Finally, learning five states that shame-driven anger can push the betrayed into illusory, solution-oriented obligations that must be abandoned. The significance of the study is built on the transformative and initiatory elements of betrayal and identifies structures that inhibit change and healing. The study highlights an aspect of the god Hermes, which navigates through the extremes of black and white, and uses limnal space to set the psyche free.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Steven Belcher
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:34
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:34

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