Connected and Separate: A Differentiation of Self View of Familial Relationship Healing

Francis, Glenn (2011) Connected and Separate: A Differentiation of Self View of Familial Relationship Healing. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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This study reflects the journey of a coaching client who found more equilibrium between her autonomous and relational aspects. “Differentiation of self” reflects this balance of our social and solitary nature, and our capacity to be both feeling and thoughtful beings. Healing wounds of narcissism with her mother and of emotional absence with her father improved her relationships and opened new possibilities in work and intimacy. Biological Perspectives reveal neurobiological findings paralleling self differentiation, and narcissistic and emotionally-remote parenting. Cognitive/Behavioral Perspectives suggest changing thoughts and beliefs to relieve suffering. A Psychodynamic lens explores relationship with self and other, illuminating individuation, attachment, and adverse parenting in connection with healthy and unhealthy development. Views from Sociocultural, Coaching, and inner inquiry vantage points affirm possibilities beyond the normative. Imaginal approaches turn toward the passionate nature of the soul, asking for inclusivity, inviting transformation, and engaging depth reflection about the healing of obstacles to healthy development iv The year’s coaching journey included events such as the death of the client’s father and the loss of her job. Concurrently she discovered inherent qualities such as being able to disidentify from experience, access affective and somatic truthfulness in herself, and endorse her psychological multiplicity. These, together with healing recognition of the negative impact on her of parental narcissism and emotional absence opened more possibilities of an expanded life. In unfolding the coaching, learnings emphasize the practical power of aspects of an imaginal approach – particularly disidentification, and inhabiting somatic and affective experience – to bring about change. A discussion of the healing value of trustworthy facilitative relationship leads into an exploration of the depth psychological structures of both client and facilitator, and their constellation. Reflecting on the significance of these learnings reveals transformation in the client, as well as in the work of the coach and writer of this study. The theme of “love heals” reflects the threading together of the psychological and the religious that is essential to Imaginal Psychology. Bringing heartful kindness as well as psychological depth to the situations addressed by self-differentiation illuminates the client’s substantial healing, and the transformative growth of others accompanying her.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Glenn Francis
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:36
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:36

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