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Dissertation Title:

Alchemical Art: Arts-Based Research on Creative Processes, Psychological Healing, and Trauma


Annie Jordan

Date, Time & Place:

March 23, 2021 at 9:00 am


Alchemical art is a study in how people can keep their own council for psychological sustenance and in times of crisis. This arts-based research investigated the relationship between art practices and healing for psychological transformation seen through the depth psychological notion of the alchemical process. The methodological approaches were heuristic and auto-ethnographic, as the researcher was also the subject. The research centered the subject’s cancer diagnosis and complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) activations. The subject documented her journey through photographic and written reveries. The creative processes of living artists added perspective and completed the hermeneutic circle. The arts-based methods refined raw data into photobooks that correlated to the alchemical stages. The books synthesized the subject’s imaginal dialogues with natural patterns and designs viewed as the sensory symbolic language of psyche, the unconscious, and dissociated trauma parts. Alchemical art is a psychological self-care process that can be used when one does not have access to therapeutic professionals or healers, or, when one does, in conjunction with them. Alchemical art explores one’s relationship with one’s intuition, creative potential, and shadow parts. This research adds to modern literature that refers to foundational depth psychology, which centered arts-based knowledge and alchemical processes between psyche and soma.


  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Diss Depth, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Maurice Stevens
  • Reader: Dr. Lisa Madrigal
  • External Reader: Dr. Drake Spaeth
  • Keywords: Alchemy, Arts-based Research, Healing, Transformation, Trauma, Council