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Dissertation Title:

Persephone: A Bridge of Transformation: Through Trauma to Post Traumatic Growth


Lorraine May Levy

Date, Time & Place:

January 13, 2021 at


This research focuses on the parallels between the Underworld journey of Persephone, from the Greek text the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and the journey through the Underworld of sexual assault, with its own path of return and recovery. This project highlights the mission of The Grateful Garments Project and local sexual assault response teams (SART) as they serve assault victims by providing new clothes to those who have turned over their clothing as evidence in a forensic examination. Imagining Persephone emerging from the Underworld clothed as a queen allows theory, myth, and advocacy to meet at a hermeneutic crossroads. This dissertation employs the theoretical framework of depth psychology and explores the connections between dignity and sexual assault by focusing on aspects of the myth connecting Persephone to the archetypal hero’s journey. Bringing depth psychology into dialogue with trauma studies and posttraumatic growth provides openings for new understanding of the recovery process from sexual assault. This study demonstrates that the archetypal actions of providing clothing, connection, and services by The Grateful Garments Project to those who are emerging from sexual assault and violence, not only helps them survive, but also opens the possibility for them to thrive.


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  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies, Track ZZ, 2011
  • Chair: Dr. Mary Wood
  • Reader: Dr. Sukey Fontelieu
  • External Reader: Dr. Cynthia Cavalli
  • Keywords: Depth Psychology, Persephone, The Grateful Garment Project, Posttraumatic Growth, Transformation, Trauma, SART, Underworld, Hero's Journey, Clothing, PERMA.