DATE: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
TIME: 4:00 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Richard J. Friedman
DISSERTATION TITLE: "A Phenomenological Study of a Psychoeducational Workshop for Gay Men: Participating in The Father Hunger Workshop"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2007
CHAIR: Dr. Michael Sipiora
READER: Dr. Claudia David
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. David Eidenberg
Friedman, R. (2013). A Phenomenological Study of a Psychoeducational Workshop for Gay Men: Participating in The Father Hunger Workshop (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013)
The purpose of this research was to gain an understanding of the lived experience of the participants of a workshop entitled: “The Father Hunger Workshop: The Union of the Son of Promise with the Father of Achievement.” This psychoeducational workshop was designed by psychologist Donald Kilhefner to assist gay men in their late 20s through 30s, who feel that they are having difficulty maturing into adulthood. The research question for this study was “What is the lived experience of participating in the Father Hunger Workshop?” This question issues from a phenomenological orientation, which focuses on the lived experience of the participant. Interviews were conducted, and the four most descriptive of these were transcribed and then analyzed using Giorgi’s (2009) descriptive phenomenology.
The following themes, among others, were identified and then expanded upon in relation to relevant literature: The participants enjoyed the opportunity to get to know gay men in a different context; they felt a sense of safety in the group that helped them to participate more fully; they found open communication in a group setting to be new and challenging; being held accountable by the group was experienced as both difficult and supportive; they gained insight through their reactions to other group members; they felt resistance, at times, to attending sessions; they appreciated the chance to work with a gay elder; they gained new meaning and purpose with regards to their gay identity; and they came to experience compassion and forgiveness for their fathers.
Findings from this in-depth exploration of the dynamics of a psychoeducational gay men’s workshop may help other researchers and clinicians in conceptualizing and implementing the curative or helpful aspects of group work with gay men. This study offers information relevant to the specific needs of gay men at a developmental crossroads in their lives and offers members of both the gay community and mainstream society an understanding of the specific challenges faced by gay men who are struggling with the process of maturation.Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.