Student Services Overview

DATE: Saturday, August 11, 2012
TIME: 12:30 p.m.
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE:Samina Salahuddin
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Dissociation: Soullessness or Developmental Neurobiological Dysfunction?"
CHAIR: Dr. Jean Palmer-Daley
READER: Dr. Mike Denney
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Elissa Greenwald

Salahuddin, S. (2012). Dissociation: Soullessness or Developmental Neurobiological Dysfunction? (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)


An increase in the number of dissociation cases in psychotherapy is currently indicated in the many psychological discussions, articles, and books written on the topic. Jungian analyst Wolfgang Giegerich describes dissociation as a soulless condition or an undialectical consciousness characterized by the dissociation of the inner world of an individual from the outer world in the sense of perceived space. In a dissociated condition, individuals hold positivistic positions with faulty reasoning within an egoistic and imaginary frame of mind.

The study is an exposition of the phenomenon of dissociation as a soulless condition. The dissertation accomplishes its goal through the dialectic approach of psychology as the discipline of interiority whereby the phenomenon of dissociation is dialectically reflected upon. In this regard, the research conducts an extensive analysis of one particular story, McEwan’s 2001 novel Atonement, as it exemplifies the phenomenon of dissociation.

During the last few decades, the rich body of data that emerged from basic brain research as well as from psychobiology and psychophysiology has led more and more psychiatrists and psychologists to adopt a developmental neurobiological model to treat dissociation. It seems that the more the prestige of developmental psychology and neurobiological psychiatry increases, the more psychology moves away from being the psychology of the soul. In response, this research investigates the two differing approaches of psychology by means of a comparative study of the condition of dissociation. Thus, dissociation first is examined through the developmental neurobiological model as a developmental dysfunction of individuals and second, through the discipline of interiority as a soulless condition.

The study finds that the most important distinction between the two approaches is in their treatment of the dissociated patients’ stories. Whereas theses stories are viewed by developmental neurobiology as causal, due to effects of dysfunctional biological and biographical origin, the latter approach encourages patients to dialectically reflect upon or interiorize the stories absolute-negatively into themselves, beyond their initial imaginal or manifest appearance in order to release them into their soul truth.


Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.