Dissertation Title:

An Exploration of the Lived Experience of CIS Women With Transgender Partners


Donna Chapman

Date, Time & Place:

November 6, 2021 at 9:00 am


There has been an explosion of material written from the perspective of the trans identified (TI); however, little has been written about the lived experience of the remaining non-trans identified (NTI) partner. This dissertation was an exploration of the lived experience of partners who are not the transitioning partner as well as an attempt to describe, from a Jungian perspective, what is happening in the relational dynamic between two people when one partner comes out as transgender. The archetype of the Androgyne and language of alchemy are used as fundamental symbols in a Jungian explication of the psyche of the NTI partner. This research has illuminated a heretofore unseen and academically neglected group of people: the partners of people who have come out as transgender and begun social and medical transition. Using the perspective of depth psychology, this research invites the reader into the lived experience of women partnered with transgender people. In examining the phenomenological question “What is it like for you and for others like you?” five themes stood out as tightly interconnected. These five themes, taken together, suggest a new augmented Jungian theory of self that privileges the essence of the experience of the NTI partner at the moment of a TI partner coming out as becoming engaged richly and consciously with the androgyne aspect of themselves as a whole being.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Psychotherapy, T, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. Douglas Thomas
  • External Reader: Robert Hopcke, MFT
  • Keywords: Androgyne, Androgyny, Marriage, Therapy, Transgender, Partners, Couples, Alchemy, Coniunctio, Cis