Transforming a Slacker Identity: Dysthymia and Adulthood

Staeffler, Imme (2014) Transforming a Slacker Identity: Dysthymia and Adulthood. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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The clinical topic of this study, dysthymia as one response to an incomplete passage into adulthood, has meaning for depth oriented therapists, depressed adults, and adults identified with failure and loss who have strong, negative thought patterns. The client of this study, a 30 year old Caucasian man with dysthymia, experienced ambivalence and inner conflict about career choices, romantic relationships, and about how he approached goals in his life. The literature review showed a link between loss, grief, ambivalence and depression or dysthymia. The traditional means to address these phenomena have been cognitive-behavioral approaches. However, depth oriented approaches show that soulmaking and reflexive pathologizing helped map out an initiate of adulthood which, in the transformative vessel of psychotherapy, began transforming a slacker identity. Andrew sought therapy to help him find a more satisfying life; he identified with failure and being a slacker. Imaginal Process aided psychotherapy in a process aiming to meet, express, and engage hidden voices— including Gatekeeper voices—that uncover losses and grieve them. This allowed the client to begin grieving losses and become iv gentler with himself. Furthermore, the client’s negative identification as a slacker became more fluid. The learnings of this study show that prolonged and unaddressed losses and associated gatekeeping supported a dysthymic process. The mythic lens in use to reflect on the learning of this study offers insights into slacker dynamics and how such are related to adulthood; this slacker identity is a version of the Puer archetype. In reflecting on dysthymia in early adulthood and the therapy examined in this study, a Puer Slacker emerges as a telling imaginal figure serving as an initiator in the client’s adulthood journey

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Psychology > Human Development
Depositing User: Imme Staeffler
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 22:36
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 22:36

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