Dissertation Title:

The Warrior and the Disabled: Archetypes and Metaphor in Treating Trauma


Michael Vogel

Date, Time & Place:

April 30, 2021 at 9:00 am


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common among military veterans, in part because of an increasing number of enlistees seeking refuge in the military system for relief from complex trauma. Childhood trauma defenses may generate a search for control and predictability while also leading to elevated risk taking, making military service attractive and increasing the likelihood of retraumatization and complex PTSD. A phenomenological methodology is used to explore the landscape of war-related trauma archetypes and investigate their usefulness in treating the underlying attachment issues caused by trauma to a warrior. Current approaches focused on symptom elimination do not fully explain the variety of psychosocial defenses that are employed by veterans with complex PTSD. This study investigates the metaphoric capacity of archetypes associated with complex trauma as they appear in mythology to identify types of psychological defenses and states in complex war-related trauma. The research further seeks to understand the relationship between the archetypal energies of the anima or animus that arise in complex trauma and early attachment wounding. Identifying metaphor is considered as a valid method to see through to the underlying mythopoetic motif of the trauma sufferer’s experience, including foundational aspects of the underlying attachment style structure. Does the use of metaphorical language identify the misperception associated with projection onto the mother figure and illuminate imbalance of the feminine and the masculine energies the mother figure is expect to embody. The study proposes the use of a depth-psychological technique to aid in the healing of those with complex trauma.

  • Program/Track/Year: Depth Psychology Psychotherapy, TT, 2012
  • Chair: Dr. Sabine Oishi
  • Reader: Dr. Christine Downing
  • External Reader: Dr. Erin Finley
  • Keywords: Trauma, Complex, Metaphor, Military, Childhood, Archetypal, Mythological