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Dissertation Oral Defenses


Candidate: Heidi Christensen Date: December 11, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

Trauma bonding within intimate partner violence consists of strong, relation-based, emotional ties between an abuser and victim. These ties reinforce powerful paradoxical attachments which leaves victims feeling confused and internally conflicted about deeply caring for someone who is abusive. Trauma bonding thus involves power rather than love. This study explored the experience of trauma bonding…


Candidate: Cary Gardell Date: December 9, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

Marian Wright Edelman has famously noted “You can’t be what you can’t see,” signifying the great need of representation of strong models for children. My dissertation addresses the mythology surrounding the hero’s journey as it has affected young girls and women while discovering the re-mythologizing of the journey by women and for women. My argument…


Candidate: Karen Hebert Date: December 6, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

Singing potentially opens a portal to experience the Self through connection with the unconscious. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of six female professional singers who have had a numinous encounter with the Self through singing. A Jungian approach with an archetypal lens was used to ask the question: What is the lived experience…


Candidate: Veronica Long Date: November 29, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

This dissertation explores how romance novels present the love encountered in romantic relationships as a catalyst towards individuation. Throughout history women in patriarchal societies have sustained an unconscious wounding to their psyches through the subjugation of their reading and writing, as well as their historical position as second-class citizens. Women rebelled by writing romance novels…


Candidate: Sean Patrick McPeak Date: November 5, 2022 Time: 1:30 am

This hermeneutic study uncovers effective means of engagement between contemporary, straight, cisgender men and the anima, or inner feminine archetype. This focused demographic has been chosen due to its disproportionate privilege in modern society. The proposed need for this demographic to engage their archetypal feminine to address this disproportionate privilege within modern patriarchy is needed…


Candidate: Sonal Chowdhry Date: November 3, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

There is a prolific amount of research which supports the effectiveness of hypnosis for treating a wide range of medical and psychological ailments. Regardless of decades worth of research demonstrating the efficacy of this approach, only a small portion of health care professionals use it. Despite its effectiveness, hypnotherapy is not a part of standard…


Candidate: Emily Miller Date: November 2, 2022 Time: 10:30 am

This theoretical dissertation imagines Eurydice as an inherent archetype and root metaphor for extraordinary creative liminality that flows through the contemporary female archaic imagination. Eurydice’s name means wide ruling Justice. She is the prototype of Dike, one of the Horea, born to Themis and Zeus. Dike stood for the All Way, The Way, The Truth,…


Candidate: John (Fujio) Mandeville Date: October 24, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

According to scholars of Leonardo da Vinci, he is becoming two dichotomous images: a scholarly one and a public one, and they are becoming alarmingly divergent. This dissertation addresses this matter by using a transdisciplinary framework developed to deepen the understanding of this fifteen-century Italian Renaissance giant. This framework includes historiography but also goes beyond…


Candidate: Mădălina Borteș Date: October 17, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

This dissertation study engages the lived experience of communism in România from a depth psychological perspective that is additionally informed by somatic studies. This research takes as its start twenty-two oral history interviews conducted with individuals who lived through communism’s routines and who experienced them as ordinary and “everlasting”—a finding conceptualized by Yurchak’s (2006) dialectical…


Candidate: Taunya Nelson Date: October 5, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

This qualitative study bridges hermeneutic, phenomenological, and transdisciplinary inquiry through an embodied lens, examining how proprioception—an inner sense of perception or a sense of being embodied—informs how people know through the body. By reviewing literature within depth psychology, philosophy, and areas of practice, this research builds upon a cross pollination of ideas to deepen, celebrate,…


Candidate: Kathleen Sargent Date: October 4, 2022 Time: 3:00 pm

The foundational mytheme of Maiden in the Tower stories is rooted in self-oppression. In those stories, oppressive social conditioning refutes the absurdly diverse nature of homo sapien sapiens’ existence by accentuating the pseudo-benefits of compliance and complacency with oppressive norms. Albert Camus’s Sisyphus and Star Trek’s Seven of Nine are Tower-like characters who utilize an…


Candidate: Nathan Hogan Date: October 4, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

United States servicemembers, veterans, and their families live in a world of multi-dimensional humanity filled with mythos and yet, in most cases are completely unaware of its existence. Modern secularization and industrial ideologies have been used by societies to sever martial rituals and symbols from their mythological roots, diluting, disguising, and calcifying them as customs,…


Candidate: Elizabeth Wisniewski Date: October 3, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

The origins of cesarean birth have a complicated history and mythology, from Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine born through cesarean birth, to modern advances in healthcare.  Yet there is much that remains unknown about the lived experience of this specific procedure.  Cesarean birth can be quantified and stratified by race and ethnicity and justified…


Candidate: Heidi Volf Date: October 3, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

This qualitative study uses a narrative portraiture methodology to produce a phenomenological description of the lived experience of empaths toward understanding how their transpersonal experiences affect the process of individuation in themselves and others. Interviews with six individuals, including the researcher, who identified as empaths served as the basis of the study. The research explores…


Candidate: Jonathan Rudow Date: October 1, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

This research explores variations in the experience of whiteness-as-lived within the narrative accounts of white Americans, focusing on how positionality affects the development of identities, sociopolitical beliefs, and conceptions of whiteness as a site of social power and privilege. Centered upon a framework of critical race theory and critical whiteness studies, the research posits the…


Candidate: Robin Beresford Date: September 2, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

Rarely have patients with a life-threatening blood cancer that has been treated with a potentially curative stem cell transplant been invited and allowed to describe the experience. This research study utilized a narrative inquiry methodology to explore the lived experience of 13 participants, who were either interviewed or asked to provide written or audio responses…


Candidate: Amber McZeal Date: August 26, 2022 Time: 12:00 pm

This research explores the phenomenon of maternal mortality in the United States and the racial health disparities embedded within it, with an emphasis on racism as the root cause. Among developed countries in the global north, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate, which affects Black women disproportionately. Black women die in childbirth…


Candidate: Denise Maratos Date: August 25, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

Qualitative interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to explore the phenomena of extraordinary experiences, otherwise known as transpersonal, numinous, transcendent, alternate states of consciousness, mystical or spiritual experiences, peak experiences, extreme states, etc., and their emergence within the mental health system, often labeled as “psychosis” and/or other psychiatric diagnoses. The impact of pathologizing such experiences and…


Candidate: Sherry Marasse Date: August 19, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

The purpose of this study was to discover the common elements needed to sustain mutual love and devotion in long-term, committed partnerships. This study utilized a descriptive phenomenological method to understand the lived experiences of long term committed couples. Five couples in mutually satisfying, loving relationships for at least 20 years were interviewed to understand…


Candidate: Laura (Catherine) Roberts Date: August 12, 2022 Time: 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…