Dissertation Title:

Go Down the Road A Ways, Turn Left: Regrowing Our Symbolic Hands


Wendi A. Hill

Date, Time & Place:

April 7, 2016 at 10:00 am
Room A, Ladera Lane campus


According to C.G. Jung, the individuation process effectively begins with the turn inward as one crosses the threshold into the second half of life. Avenues of access into psyche and her images and symbols include dreams, active imagination, myth, fairy tales, art, and poetry/writing. For some, psychological transformation during an individuation journey may occur by working deeply with fairy tales. This heuristic study explores women’s experiences of regrowing their symbolic hands as part of their individuation process. Grounded in Jungian theory and alchemy, the focus of this research is the description and unfolding of women’s stories about their initiatory journeys of regrowing their symbolic hands during the second half of life. Through use of a Jungian theoretical lens, The Handless Maiden fairy tale serves as a way to engage with psyche and sets a depth psychological context for how psychological transformation can occur by working deeply with fairy tales. Participants’ stories reveal themes that emerged from their experience of the process, identify requirements for intensive inner work, and uncover gifts they received while exploring the regrowth of their symbolic hands. Depth psychological implications of this study reveals the regrowth process can lead to a renewed sense of creativity and movement of the individuation process and the experience of losing/sacrificing one’s symbolic hands from an intellectual experience to a lived, embodied experience.


Parking is available on the Ladera Lane campus – Shuttle service is not available

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology, Track K, 2009
  • Chair: Thomas Elsner, J.D.
  • Reader: Dr. Jacqueline Feather
  • External Reader: Dr. Robin van Loben Sels
  • Keywords: Individuation, Feminine, Fairy Tale, Handless, Embodied, Creativity, Symbolic, Hands, Dreams, Unconscious