Dissertation Title:

The Gateway Toward Healing for Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men


Claudia Alvarez-Roddy

Date, Time & Place:

April 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm
in classroom A-101 at the Ladera Campus


The purpose of this study was to shed light from a depth psychological perspective on the role that hope plays in the successful transition out of gang life for previously incarcerated Latino men. A phenomenological approach was taken to help understand the role of esperanza, or hope, in the lived experience of formerly incarcerated men. The intent was to discover how esperanza presented itself in the lived experience of those who struggled with periods of despair or lived in an environment of seemingly unalterable hopelessness yet were able to find a place of healing and restoration. The research used a case study method, in which interviews of four men and another man’s published memoir provided data related to the role of hope played in their psychological healing and leaving the gang life. Important themes related to the presence of hopelessness and hope in the participant’s journeys into and out of prison and gangs were: the influence of ancestral lineage, the cycle of addiction, childhood trauma, hopelessness in the Barrio, decision crossroads, hope and higher education, and hope and community. The study findings pointed to the important role of community in providing hope, support, and belonging. Findings regarding the participant’s childhood school experiences pointed to the need for elementary school teachers to receive trauma-sensitive training.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology with Specialization in Integrative Therapy & Healing Practices, H, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Sabine Oishi
  • Reader: Dr. Aaron Kipnis
  • External Reader: Dr. Jorja Leap
  • Keywords: Latino, Incarceration, Hope, Depth-psychology, Esperanza, Hopelessness, Oppression, Gangs, Homeboy Industries, Community Healing, Higher Education, Addiction