Student Services Overview

DATE: Saturday, October 13, 2012
TIME: 12:00 p.m.
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Fred LeRoy Erwin
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Clinical Encounters in the National Security State"
CHAIR: Dr. Allen Bishop
READER: Dr. Christine Lewis

 Erwin, F. (2012). Clinical Encounters in the National Security State (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)


This study explores the lived experience of trauma, via the suffering expressed by counseling clients in relation to the apparatus and enactments of the National Security State in the United States of America. Using a multiple case, embedded case study research approach and method, this research explores the following questions through eight case vignettes: Is there a symptomatic relationship between impactful, negative personal experiences of traumatic suffering, and the activities, behaviors and cultural milieu of American expressions of the National Security State, and how are these experiences described by the individual sufferer in the clinical context? A definition of the national security milieu is developed and utilized as a criterion for understanding the context of each case. Each case considers the national security context of the individual suffering. Analyses utilizing a Liberation Psychological approach and a Post-colonial perspective are presented and discussed with reference to the symptom manifestation and national security context of each case. The development and expression of trauma symptoms are discussed, and are analyzed and presented in relation to a measure of trauma symptom expression (the Trauma Symptom Checklist, Briere and Runtz, 1989), and to the diagnostic criteria of the DSM IV-TR for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (APA, 2000). Additional symptoms of complex trauma are noted and explored. The prospective application of postcolonial and liberation psychological theory and practice to the establishment of personal psychological balance, and communal well-being in each patient’s situation of distress, suffering, and symptom emergence, is considered. A summary of findings is presented, describing the lived experience of chronic, complex trauma symptoms, in relation to the context of civic and personal relationships characterized by the patterns of the national security milieu as defined. As well, strengths and weakness of the present study are considered, and prospects for further study are offered.


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