DATE: Saturday, September 21, 2013
TIME: 12:30 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Brandon L. Brawner
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Behind Locked Doors: A Research into Imagination"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-J; 2003
CHAIR: Dr. Edward Casey
READER: Dr. Ruth Meyer
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Luke Hockley
Brawner, B. (2013). Behind Locked Doors: A Research into Imagination (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
This dissertation circles around the creation of an arts-based film script entitled “Behind Locked Doors.” With a story that is located within a fictional psychiatric hospital, the text includes a number of characters through which psychic wounds allow for a depth psychological exploration into a variety of agitating symptoms: sexual trauma, bereavement, psychosis, grandiosity, narcissism, multiple personality disorder, etc. The core theme underlying the creative work is that of imagination, especially how it reveals and expresses itself along a twisting ambivalent line between healing and disintegration. Viewing the imaginative function from diverse standpoints as embodied in each character’s personality, the dissertation examines how traditional western pharmaceutical and re-adjustment therapies stack up against more soul-oriented healing methodologies, including Jung’s individuation process, Hillman’s archetypal psychologizing, Sufi imaginal traditions, and creative play therapies. The literature review and methodology chapters survey the imaginal landscape from hermeneutic, phenomenological, active imagining, carnivalesque, narrative storytelling and arts based traditions, amongst others. Scientific and theological concepts, especially those that incorporate an abundance of imagination, such as cosmological physics and Dante’s divine poetic crossing of life and death thresholds, are also explored. The concluding chapter reflects upon similarities between the alchemical process of psychic expansion as revealed in the Rosarium pictures and the film scriptwriting process of discovering transformational images through a long-term steady practice of active imagination. A brief review of popular films that address psychiatric hospital themes and issues rounds off the dissertation.Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.