Dissertation Title:

Tracing the Roots of the Wild: An Ecopsychological Study of Borderline Traits in Women


Laura (Catherine) Roberts

Date, Time & Place:

August 12, 2022 at 1:00 pm


This study utilized Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to explore ecopsychological perspectives of female patients with borderline traits. Six clinicians were interviewed to explore the lived experience of working with female patients with borderline traits from eco-informed perspectives. The analysis of the interview transcripts yielded five superordinate themes: Nature as a Resource; Addressing the Borderline Wound Through Nature; Recognition of Borderline Traits as a Potential for Growth; The Historical Devaluation of Women; and The Wild as Potential Access for Freedom from Ego and Social Constraints. Additionally, the auxiliary research question for this study examined Jungian perspectives of borderline traits by exploring nature, wildness, and civilization in the work of C. G. Jung. The clinical implications of this study yielded several insights regarding the conceptualization and treatment of female patients with borderline traits. These clinical insights included: the importance of understanding marginalization; the necessity of engaging the imagination; treating the patient’s heart; understanding trauma and the body; recognizing the relationship between self and environment; understanding the mother wound; the therapist’s awareness of personal and cultural shadow; and the centrality of relationality in ecotherapy.

  • Program/Track/Year: Clinical Psychology, A, 2016
  • Chair: Dr. Jennifer Sandoval
  • Reader: Dr. Christine Lewis
  • External Reader: Dr. Tena Moyer
  • Keywords: Borderline Personality Disorder, Ecopsychology, Ecotherapy, Borderline Traits, Jungian Psychology