Dissertation Title:

Death and Meaning: Encountering Image After the Loss of a Loved One


Ashley Simons

Date, Time & Place:

March 26, 2022 at 9:30 am


The purpose of this depth psychological narrative inquiry study is to gather stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to death and analyze the narratives through the lenses of image and synchronicity. The research explores how individuals create or find meaning in grieving the death of a cherished person when they encounter evocative images in the external and internal worlds.

Four women who had lost a cherished loved one were interviewed about their experiences of the death of their loved one and of synchronicities and images after the death that connected them to the deceased in a meaningful way. Narrative analyses of the interview transcripts generated themes of specific, unusual, and clear communications from deceased loved ones through images, symbolic events, and synchronistic occurrences in daily life and dreams that were expressive of the uniqueness of the deceased person and their relationship with the participant. These experiences of their loved one after death were meaningful and soothing to the participants. The research indicates that identifying a relationship between death and image after the loss of a loved one that is specific to the individual’s experience can be an important source of meaning and support in grief.

Currently, there is a lack of grief counseling interventions that tap into image as a means of healing. Building on the research, future work can create archetypal and depth psychological models for interventions with clients who have experienced the death of a loved one through the lens of image and attention to synchronistic events. The relationship between image and death can be an entry point to the psyche that provides meaning in the inevitable and devastating experience of losing a loved one.


  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with emphasis in Jungian Psychology and Archetypal Studies, ZZ, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Kesstan Blandin
  • Reader: Dr. Betsy Hall
  • External Reader: Dr. Micah Sadigh
  • Keywords: Death, Grief, Image, Synchronicity, Jung