Dissertation Oral Defenses


Candidate: Brian Falk Date: August 4, 2018 Time: 3:00 pm

This research investigates the role of meaningful aromas through a hermeneutical intersection of the natural sciences, philosophy, and depth psychology. Part 1 analyzes how fragrances can be constructed as psychic images. Following Jung, perceptual images are differentiated from memory images. Four qualities necessary for the formation of scent images are then identified: evocative, idiosyncratic, emotional,…


Candidate: Michelle Hansel Date: August 2, 2018 Time: 4:30 pm

Finding efficacious treatments for severe trauma and PTSD is an important endeavor in the field of clinical psychology. The present qualitative phenomenological study examines the experiences of clinicians (participants) and their patients, specifically veterans and soldiers suffering from severe trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms. Giorgi and Moustakas’s phenomenological methods were employed in the…


Candidate: Allyson Kathleen Bell Date: August 1, 2018 Time: 3:30 pm

A trauma informed approach to mental health care is emerging as one of the forefront treatments in evidenced based practices. Trauma is not only directly or indirectly experienced but can also be transmitted generationally. This qualitative study focuses on the experiences shared by two third generation survivors of the Japanese American internment camps of World…


Candidate: Robert Antonacci Date: August 1, 2018 Time: 1:30 pm

Broaching the topic of age in the youth-and-beauty-obsessed American culture can often be a charged endeavor, laced with bias and prejudice. To provide insight into this delicate issue, this research study focuses on the lived experience of gay men as they age through their middle years. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, six men over the age…


Candidate: Laurie Sue Larsen Date: July 23, 2018 Time: 10:30 am

In searching for restorative stories that elevate understanding and engender the capacity for seeing through the cultural chaos and confusion of modern times, this dissertation turns to Egypt at the beginning of its recorded history, approximately 3100 BCE. The ancient Egyptians faced many of the same challenges facing the world today, and they learned to…


Candidate: Brian Damien Dietrich Date: July 19, 2018 Time: 11:30 am

This dissertation employs interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) to study the lived experience of 6 individuals engaged in relational guided imagery (RGI). Countervailing the Industrial Revolution’s spiritual alienation, and loss of symbolic perspective, a romantic current arose in German Idealism that elevated human imagination to a superordinate, world-making power. In this context, Jung’s analytical psychology compensated…


Candidate: Miles Graham Salisbury Date: July 18, 2018 Time: 9:00 am

The purpose of the study was to explore the vampire archetype and how it may present, be similar to, and contribute to an insecure attachment style. The aim of the study was to describe and understand the archetype of the vampire and examine how therapists’ exploration of this archetype with patients could provide, for both…


Candidate: Lori Gentilini Burri Date: July 16, 2018 Time: 11:00 am

This qualitative study addresses the lived experience of participants in a specific somatic psychotherapy practice, relational somatic psychotherapy (RSP). The RSP approach is a biologically based, interpersonal exploration of consciousness and self-awareness through authentic relationship (Hilton, 2007). Following an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology, this study analyzes interviews focused on how participants experienced the somatically…


Candidate: Ana M. Doehner Date: June 30, 2018 Time: 12:45 pm

This hermeneutic study of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead attempts to understand the psychological issues associated with the novel. It makes a depth psychological reading of The Fountainhead’s three main characters: Peter Keating, who is swallowed by collective attitudes and expectations, Howard Roark, who exhibits a radical individualist heroism, and Dominique Francon, an anima figure who…


Candidate: Rodger Stacy Questin Date: June 25, 2018 Time: 10:30 am

Gay sons’ personal experiences of the ways in which their father raised them have not been thoroughly addressed in the current body of literature. Utilizing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009), this dissertation explores the lived experiences of gay men as they share their childhood memories of their father’s paternal caregiving practices as…


Candidate: Patricia A. Selbert Date: June 19, 2018 Time: 1:00 pm

A significant number of immigrants internationally are bicultural and bilingual and must negotiate being suspended between their culture of origin and the host culture, a process that entails shifting between the two. Differences between the cultures can cause conflict within the psychological makeup of the immigrant and affect self-identity. This qualitative study sheds light on…


Candidate: Kari Saenz Date: June 13, 2018 Time: 3:00 pm

Schizophrenia affects approximately 51 million individuals over the age of 18 and is considered one of the ten most disabling non-fatal disabilities worldwide. However, everyday people are coming out to share their stories of recovery and ability to move past their diagnosis to do great things in their lives. The aim of this study was…


Candidate: Ryan Robert Adamczyk Date: June 7, 2018 Time: 11:30 am

This theoretical hermeneutic study engages a Jungian psychological perspective to explore the experience of physical disability within the American cultural context. The ideal of bodily perfection within this cultural context and the resulting psycho-social impact on individuals with physical disability is discussed. It is argued this impact undermines personal validity and generates a perceived failure…


Candidate: Teresa Jeannette Rodriguez Date: June 6, 2018 Time: 1:30 pm

This somatic, depth psychological, intuitive inquiry explores the transformative and healing effects of the process of remembrance of blood ancestors in body, heart and mind as the Maya, the researcher’s paternal ancestors, understand na’b’al, blood memory, and the way ancestors are brought into present, living relationship through remembrance of ancestral story, culture, and ceremony. This…


Candidate: Debbie A. Holderle Date: June 2, 2018 Time: 12:45 pm

The phenomenon of hearing voices has been associated primarily with schizophrenia in Western cultures. Although auditory verbal hallucinations are considered debilitating symptoms of a mental illness, they appear to deserve serious attention only when they pose a threat to self or others. When not a threat, no one pays real attention except the individual living…


Candidate: Brandon Michael Chasse Date: May 7, 2018 Time: 10:00 am

Self-regulation is considered one of the most important operations of the human self and is correlated with multiple variables. The objective of this quantitative study was to explore the relationship between one’s capacity to generate vivid visual mental images and one’s capacity for both behavioral and physiological self-regulation. 53 participants completed three assessments for this…


Candidate: Brandon D. Short Date: May 4, 2018 Time: 10:00 am

Cartesian dualism is analyzed as a psychological image, instead of as a philosophical proposition. This is done by first arguing that elements of existing commentary are indicative of a psychological complex, acting unconsciously, in contemporary academic communities. As a hermeneutic study, these elements are then further interpreted through a Jungian lens, specifically cultural complex theory.…


Candidate: Vanya Stier-Van Essen Date: April 26, 2018 Time: 2:30 pm

The image of Eve leaning toward the serpent and reaching for the forbidden fruit lives at the heart of the predominant creation myth of the Western world and still reverberates in its psyche. At the same time, a singular and literal interpretation of Eve has dominated cultural discourse and psychological life: Eve is understood as…


Candidate: Jonathan Erickson Date: April 25, 2018 Time: 1:30 pm

This research explores the phenomenon of imagination through a hermeneutic integration of both humanistic and neuroscientific perspectives. Imagination is first looked at historically, philosophically and depth psychologically as understandings of the topic have developed throughout Western civilization, beginning in Ancient Greece and proceeding into the modern era. Imagination is then considered scientifically through the lens…


Candidate: Maryanne Comaroto Date: April 25, 2018 Time: 11:00 am

Concerned with the unconscious, embodied experience of heterosexual women affected by female sexual objectification (FSO), this research takes a depth psychological, somatic approach to addressing the Western cultural split between mind and body. This study explores the archetypal, thematic material constellating in the dynamics of FSO, its traumatogenic effects, and women’s internalization of FSO as…