Dissertation Title:

Living with Mysticism in a Marital Relationship: A Phenomenological Study and Analytic Jungian Interpretation and Amplification


Ward Alan Robak

Date, Time & Place:

July 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm
Studio, Lambert Road Campus


This study explores how analytic Jungian psychology in dialogue with the myth of Persephone and Hades and the Hellenistic Mystery religions expand our knowledge of the intrapsychic and interpsychic processes that arise when marital couples live with mysticism. The research defines mysticism as an internal–introspective and social–contextual process involving transformative practices, self-transcendence, and consciousness of an Absolute. The study adopts a broad interpretation of marital relationship or marriage as an emotionally committed relationship.
Transcribed interviews of three couples underwent descriptive psychological phenomenological procedures, which generated seven general themes and one nomothetic or general narrative of their experience (i.e., structure). An additional hermeneutic interpretation and archetypal amplification—informed by analytic Jungian psychology in dialogue with the Eleusinian Hellenistic Mysteries—resulted in an analytic theme and a descriptive analytic and archetypal structure for each of the general themes.
The procedures yielded the following general–analytic themes: (1) Relational Compatibility: Compensatory and Projective Attraction; (2) Relational Communion: The Lesser Coniunctio; (3) Attachment to Partner for Fulfillment of Needs: Kinship Libido; (4) Assertive Differentiated Autonomy: Separatio; (5) Cooperative Autonomous Participation: Transcendent Relational Functioning; (6) Relational Intentionality and Nurturance: The Self in Relationship; and (7) Compassionate Receptivity and Responsiveness: The Greater Coniunctio.
The study accesses the mythological and imaginal world, rooting the discipline of clinical psychology in the deeper conventions in which it grows. Extending the relevance of analytic psychology within the clinical setting of couples therapy, the study provides psychological and spiritual insight to clinicians and couples who address living with mysticism.


All oral defense attendees must shuttle to the Lambert Road Campus from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria. Parking on campus is not available.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, Track A, 2006
  • Chair: Dr. Veronica Goodchild
  • Reader: Dr. Lisa Sloan
  • External Reader: Dr. William Parsons
  • Keywords: Mysticism, Marriage, Phenomenology, Jung, Analytical, Archetypal, Myth, Eleusinian Mysteries, Persephone, Hades, Couples Therapy