Dissertation Title:

Place and Being: A Psychological and Phenomenological Inquiry


Maxine Miller

Date, Time & Place:

June 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm


This human science study utilized a hermeneutic methodology to explore place and people’s relationship to place from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Texts from the field of psychology, including environmental psychology, ecopsychology, attachment theory, and social psychology, were analyzed. Then, texts from phenomenological philosophy, phenomenological psychology, and ecologically attuned phenomenology were analyzed. The subsequent analysis resulted in two groupings of themes: psychology’s notion of place attachment and phenomenology’s understanding of place. From the field of psychology, themes of multiplicity, connection, division, and paradox emerged. From the field of phenomenology, themes of consciousness, myth, materiality, and movement emerged. Two superordinate themes, mathematization and a whole, emerged from two groups. This unified whole of place is also reflected in the Heideggerian notions of being, dwelling, and the Fourfold. The clinical implications of this study included: diagnostic considerations of place attachment and relationship to place; the necessity of a greater inclusion of ecological or environmental considerations in therapeutic treatment; an enhanced understanding of the variance of people’s experience of place.


  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Depth Psychology, A, 2017
  • Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Nelson
  • Reader: Dr. Craig Chalquist
  • External Reader: Dr. Janet Donohoe
  • Keywords: Place, Place Attachment, Ecopsychology, Ecophenomenology