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Dissertation Title:

Experiencing Accompaniment of Children as They Navigate the Dependency System


Helen Tye Talkin

Date, Time & Place:

June 11, 2019 at 12:45 pm
Room A, Ladera Lane Campus


This research asks what the experience of being a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) is like. What are the challenges and what are the rewards? A series of questions were asked of 14 CASA volunteers in order to obtain data from which emergent themes of the CASA experience for the group as a whole were extracted. The central question that this research seeks to address is how the psychosocial accompaniment of children in the dependency court system affects the accompanier. Portraiture, a qualitative methodology related to ethnography, case study, and narrative, is employed. The resulting portrait of a CASA blends literary principles such as metaphor and simile with artistic resonance from observations and experiences shared by participants. The experiences documented in the transcribed interviews are analyzed with scientific rigor to produce the cumulative portrait of a CASA. By documenting and creating this multi-faceted, yet unified whole portrait, this research seeks to spark dialog that may lead to a deeper sense of community amongst CASA volunteers in Santa Barbara County. This, it is hoped, may in turn facilitate greater retention and less frequent turnover of experienced volunteers. Stewarding the human resources of the organization that has recruited, trained and supported volunteers as they have accompanied children through the dependency court system would be a desirable outcome of the implementation of findings of this research.


Parking is available on the Ladera campus; therefore shuttle service is not available.
Please note students are on campus for coursework. Dining room service is available only to those on-campus students and not to guests of the oral defense. Please be mindful of the students.

Thank you for your kind consideration of our campus!

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Somatic Studies, Track S, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Mary Watkins
  • Reader: Dr. Aaron Kipnis
  • External Reader: Dr. Judy Roth
  • Keywords: Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), Psychosocial Accompaniment, Liberation Psychology, Community Psychology, Witnessing, Solidarity, Spiritual Exercise, Privilege Problematic, Trauma