DATE: Thursday, February 28, 2013
TIME: 4:00 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: David Huw Burston
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Has the Shadow left a Footprint Behind? A Depth Psychological Phenomenological Investigation of Soccer Archetypes in Sports Team Culture"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2006
CHAIR: Dr. Richard Kelliher
READER: Dr. Karen Pohn
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Matthew Pain
Burston, D. (2013). Has the Shadow left a Footprint Behind? A Depth Psychological Phenomenological Investigation of Soccer Archetypes in Sports Team Culture (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
Soccer, or Football, as it is known outside of America, attracts vast numbers of passionate fans from all over the world, yet clinical psychology has yet to fully embrace it. Using a phenomenological research method, inspired by Amedeo Giorgi, players from an American Division One University team answered questions on what it is like to be an aspiring professional soccer player.
Eight co-researchers (four from each gender) were selected for interviews using standardized open-ended questions, relating to their initial inspiration to play; dreams, achievements, heroes; playing well and poorly, and the team as family. Nine themes emerged from the responses: 1) Family as the reason they play soccer; 2) God as a source of gifts; 3) the ‘first’ as an achievement; 4) dreams of growth and finishing; 5) parents as heroes; 6) the unstoppable body, elevation and descent; 7) dreams of giving back; 8) the team as a ‘supra family’ and assistors; 9) winning and losing, inner doubt, solutions and using shadow language.
Themes were explored in the discussion chapter, using a depth psychological lens to unearth archetypal resonances. Results suggest the game strikes deep archetypal chords, stretching back to our early hunter/gatherer roots, with major achievements described as initiatory experiences. When playing well, co-researchers reported heightened states of mind, embodying mythic figures and gods; unlike playing poorly where “thinking too much” degraded performance. Co-reseacrhers described a ‘supra family’ system, emphasizing values of unity and support at the heart of their experience. Co-researchers described diverse gender and age family members as their inspiration to play soccer. The idea of the game being a masculine tradition was questioned. Participants described being on a team as benefitting character, confirming recent research that teams may be emotionally healthy environments for young people. Clinical research could perhaps discover creative ways of assisting individuals who may benefit from being included in any kind of productive team or ‘supra family’ environment.
Key words: Soccer, Football, Performance, Teams, Play, Shadow, Hunting. Greeks, Dionysus, Olympics. Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.