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Dissertation Title:

Body-Oriented, Imaginal Approaches to Transformative Sexual Trauma Treatment


Jeni Ambrose

Date, Time & Place:

April 12, 2021 at 11:00 am


This study sought to understand whether and in what ways imaginal engagement in body-oriented psychotherapy supports transformative sexual trauma recovery. Participants included six well-experienced body-oriented psychotherapists who regularly support adult survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) and other forms of direct, corporeal sexual assault and whose approaches incorporate a form of unconscious imaginal engagement. Central to this research is the concept of an embodied mind, which presumes conscious and unconscious psychological content resides within a somatic field. A generic qualitative methodology, using the VSAIEEDC Model of data analysis, was employed to explore the emergence of and engagement with the imaginal in sexual trauma treatment. Open-ended questions were designed to discover, from the therapist’s point of view, the role the imaginal plays in the lived experience and recovery journeys of sexual assault and abuse survivors. Findings include amplification of the transformative sexual trauma treatment dynamic and identification of emergent themes and patterns.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with emphasis in Somatic Studies, S, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Victoria Stevens
  • Reader: Dr. Paula Thomson
  • External Reader: Dr. Felicia Matto-Shepard
  • Keywords: Sexual Trauma, Somatic, Unconscious Imagery, Trauma Treatment, Jung, Active Imagination