Dissertation Title:

Bodies of Water: A Depth Psychological Analysis of Bathing


Elizabeth Flood

Date, Time & Place:

January 19, 2022 at 11:00 am


After experiencing shattering heartbreak, the author turned to bathing for comfort and restoration. The restorative outcome led to an intimate relationship with water and a curiosity about the depth of our relationship with water. Guided by the author’s both literal and metaphorical experiences of being in water, this autoethnographic dissertation seeks to understand the deeper levels of our intimate relationship with water. Psychology, art, indigenous philosophy, body politics, and mythology are examined to support and deepen the author’s understanding of the human relation to water and the entire natural landscape. The dissertation takes the form of three separate but related essays. The first essay examines our secular and non-secular bathing rituals. The second essay explores our somatic embodied relationship with water from indigenous and ecofeminist perspectives. The third essay is a personal reflection on water symbolism and flood mythology. The simple truth is that water can exist without humans, yet humans do not exist without water.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psych Emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2013
  • Chair: Dr. Christine Downing
  • Reader: Dr. Lori Pye
  • External Reader: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
  • Keywords: Bathing, Water, Flood, Rituals, Ecopsychology, Depth Psychology, Indigenous Philosophy, Somatics, Autoethnography