Dissertation Title:

Allowing Wounds to Speak: Rehabilitating the Psyche of Injured Athletes


Kristina Sanders

Date, Time & Place:

September 21, 2023 at 11:00 am


In the United States, millions of athletic injuries are sustained through recreational exercise and sports every year, causing physical distress and psychological instability. Injured athletes often experience depression, anxiety, anger, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Few studies have explored athletes’ psychological states post-injury or how to assist injured athletes in understanding the symbolic dimensions and ways of knowing themselves beyond objective physical reality. Using both hermeneutic and alchemical hermeneutic approaches, a scientific method, and a phenomenological design, this study gathered quantitative and qualitative data from eight participants in a 6-week workshop to extract the inner and outer psychic nature of the lived experience. This quadruple methodological approach allowed this study to be both empirical and intuitive, objective and subjective, holding the tension of the opposites. The results indicated a significant decrease in psychosomatic pain intensity for each participant when comparing pain indicator surveys between weeks one and six. The results also highlighted how learning theories derived from C.G. Jung positively impacted the injured athletes’ overall well-being and sense of wholeness. This approach to supporting injured athletes offers a liminal form of embodied consciousness, shining a spotlight on the subjective existence of the unknown. Moreover, this study extends depth psychology into a new field of psychosomatic healing that can assist injured or debilitated athletes from an inward-facing rehabilitative perspective, allowing all who suffer physically to heal emotionally.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, ZZ, 2017
  • Chair: Dr. Susan Rowland
  • Reader: Dr. Jeanne Schul
  • External Reader: Dr. Randyl Smith
  • Keywords: Jung, Psyche, Symbology, Athletes, Injuries, Wounds, Imagination, Archetypes, Typology, Yoga