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Dissertation Oral Defenses


Candidate: Valerie Marvin Date: April 11, 2022 Time: 3:00 pm

The psychological wounds correlated to childhood sexual assault for the woman survivor are often delineated by unspeakable terror when initiating the journey toward wellness. The process of reintegrating the split-off aspects of the Self to re-establish a cohesively functioning ego may respond to a psychodynamic approach that amplifies salient imagery as representational patterns of behavior.…


Candidate: Jonathan Alvin Date: April 1, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

This study examined the 1080 serving Wise Emergency Survival Food Storage (WESFS). In 2009, the WESFS was marketed as an emergency food product with a 25-year shelf life capable of feeding an individual for a year. To understand the 1080 serving WESFS, this study utilized phenomenology, cultural historical analysis, and hermeneutic theories within philosophy and…


Candidate: Ashley Simons Date: March 26, 2022 Time: 9:30 am

The purpose of this depth psychological narrative inquiry study is to gather stories from individuals who have lost a loved one to death and analyze the narratives through the lenses of image and synchronicity. The research explores how individuals create or find meaning in grieving the death of a cherished person when they encounter evocative…


Candidate: Rachel Turetzky Date: March 25, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

A hermeneutic phenomenological research approach using thematic analysis was used to explore the subjective experience of the psychedelic compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT).  The secondary archival data analyzed in this study included the participant bedside notes written by physician and researcher Rick Strassman, MD during his groundbreaking DMT research in the early 1990s (Strassman & Qualls, 1994;…


Candidate: Van Tuong Bui Date: March 19, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

This depth-oriented study explores the unique embodied experiences of parental expectations and biculturalism in second-generation Vietnamese immigrants. The research was conducted using a mixed-methods approach, primarily based on an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology combined with a quantitative survey. Eighty-six people completed the online survey and 11 second-generation Vietnamese individuals were randomly selected for an…


Candidate: Daniel Ballin Date: March 15, 2022 Time: 9:00 am

This heuristic inquiry explores the therapist’s experience of a client’s suicide. Five clinician suicide loss survivors share their experiences, including how they responded to the initial news of the suicide, navigated workplace relationships, grieved the loss of the deceased, struggled with their professional narrative, and engaged in a healing process. Their experiences are presented in…


Candidate: Nicholas Literski Date: March 14, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

This study applies the depth psychological tool of active imagination in a novel manner to engage 36,000-year-old Paleolithic art images from Chauvet Cave, with an eye toward further understanding C. G. Jung’s concept of the religious instinct. Archeological and anthropological contexts are described in detail, after which three separate active imagination sessions are conducted with…


Candidate: Bernard Becker Date: March 7, 2022 Time: 9:00 am

In the face of the rekindling of scientific research on the use of psychedelics as adjuncts to psychotherapy, questions arise on the risks and benefits of this novel hybrid form of therapy.  In particular, psychedelics are known for their capacity to elicit non-ordinary states of consciousness and allow access to unconscious, archetypal or numinous psychological…


Candidate: Carl Chavez Date: March 4, 2022 Time: 2:00 pm

This dissertation explores the concept of personal identities in relation to social identities and social constructs. The research brings into focus long-standing patterns of identity suppression while analyzing these patterns through a multidisciplinary approach. Moreover, it validates the intersectionality of identity and the space of in-betweenness while recognizing that identity is in constant motion and…


Candidate: Samantha Kinkaid Date: February 22, 2022 Time: 9:00 am

The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential synergy between counter-trafficking programs and sustainable development by examining the impact of an existing solar energy program with groups of isolated girls and women in rural Nepal. Through a case study methodology, the intention was to understand the effect on participants’ quality of life, mental…


Candidate: Heather Beck Date: February 2, 2022 Time: 12:00 pm

This hermeneutical study explores the lived experience of embodied transition through the middle years into the second half of life, by engaging with depth psychological, somatic, and imaginal research approaches. By interacting with the literature and the literary imaginals through the depth psychological process of active imagination, supported by three somatic practices of Focusing®, embodied…


Candidate: Sharon Goldman Date: January 31, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

The myriad social and emotional challenges of midlife in contemporary American society are well documented both empirically and anecdotally. With more middle-aged individuals now confronting the complications involved in the extended lifespan of their parents’ generation, another question has become salient: How does caring for a declining parent enhance, detract from, or otherwise affect one’s…


Candidate: Elizabeth Perry Date: January 29, 2022 Time: 10:00 am

Concerned with the unheard, unconscious, embodied experience of mothers impacted by circumcision, this research takes a depth psychological, somatic approach to examining American mothers faced with the circumcision decision for their sons. In an attempt to understand the lived experience of these mothers, this study explores the archetypal, patriarchal, thematic material constellating in the dynamics…


Candidate: Dimietri Hollimon Date: January 24, 2022 Time: 4:00 pm

People who believe in a higher power or deity tend to place their trust in these spirits, idols, the church, and those who are “called” to pastor or be the voice of God. These individuals are typically looked upon and reverenced in the eye of the people who follow their leadership (Fosshage & Hershberg, 2014).…


Candidate: Heather Hines Date: January 23, 2022 Time: 12:00 pm

This study is a depth psychological exploration of the climate crisis using hermeneutics. The climate crisis is defined here as the catastrophic changes of anthropogenic origin to the ecosystems of the Earth. The study draws on a fractal epistemology recently proposed by Terry Marks-Tarlow, Yakov Shapiro, Katthe P. Wolf, and Harris Friedman to interpret the…


Candidate: Elizabeth Flood Date: January 19, 2022 Time: 11:00 am

After experiencing shattering heartbreak, the author turned to bathing for comfort and restoration. The restorative outcome led to an intimate relationship with water and a curiosity about the depth of our relationship with water. Guided by the author’s both literal and metaphorical experiences of being in water, this autoethnographic dissertation seeks to understand the deeper…


Candidate: Amon Benavides Date: January 18, 2022 Time: 4:00 pm

This qualitative study explored the impact of social media discourse of political campaigns on Latino voters’ political views using an interpretative phenomenological design. The research questions were designed to draw out participants’ lived experiences as voters who are part of the Latino population related to the impact of social media discourse of political campaigns on…


Candidate: Thomas Martinez Date: January 18, 2022 Time: 12:00 pm

This community psychology project consisted of two virtual storytelling groups gathered to examine the impact of storytelling during a global pandemic. It used the public narrative methodology of Marshall Ganz placed within the context of community mental health. Each storytelling group met weekly for 8 weeks. The Sunday group had seven members drawn from Desert…


Candidate: Theresa Clearman Date: January 11, 2022 Time: 1:00 pm

Carl G. Jung theorized an underlying unified reality from which everything emerges and to which everything returns. He called this theory of a one-world reality Unus Mundus. Accordingly, the archetypal symbol formation he hypothesized would extend beyond the human psyche to the natural and technological worlds. With the ever-expanding reach of technological advancements and dependence…


Candidate: Jessica Pink Date: December 17, 2021 Time: 10:30 am

This study considers the dancer’s lived experience of work-life transition out of performance. Any passage out of the performing arts necessitates a shift in world-view resulting in unique identity challenges. The present inquiry creates a context for understanding and communicating the nature of the tensions that render this professional identity shift an existential challenge. Integrated…