Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Vocation as calling: Archetypes of ecopsychologists
by Rudd, Meghan O'Neal, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2011, 149; 3519789
Abstract (Summary)

Considering humanity's current precarious state on the planet and taking to heart Freud's (1930/2005) notion that love and work are two areas important for the understanding of psychological life, this study explores the relationship of prominent ecopsychologists to their vocation through archetypal motifs. Research on ecopsychologists' archetypes raises awareness of our reciprocal relationships with the ecosystems in which we are a part and bridges the gap between the current global crisis and clinical and depth psychologies.

This hermeneutical narrative inquiry featured 5 prominent ecopsychologists: Susan Griffin, Andy Fisher, Allen Kanner, Joanna Macy, and Betsy Perluss. The research question, "How do ecopsychologists live and experience their relation to their vocation archetypically?" was sought through narrative interviewing that elicited stories of vocational life-history.

The findings from the narratives of ecopsychologists included a pattern of connection-break-reconnection and 5 archetypal motifs with positive and negative poles: Gaia, a mutual relationship to both inner and outer natures that acknowledges that we are part of a larger whole--the state of being alone, isolated, orphaned, ostracized, deadened, or mechanical; Psychopomp, the act of guiding or mentoring the soul--lost, confused, or forgotten soul; Muse, a deep value of humanities-based ways of knowing to elicit embodied experience--the hyper-rational, linear, logical, spiritless, mechanical, and deadened state; Polis, critical, social, and political engagement with the world--being unrepresented, marginalized, unseen and unheard, having no place of belonging, and nonexistence; and Symbol, the importance of ideas and writing to transmit meaning--lack of expression, vacant-ness, and meaninglessness.

The study's findings on ecopsychologist archetypes guide us toward increased consciousness, a more comprehensive clinical orientation, and a more holistic worldview. Recommendations from this study for the healing of individuals, communities, and nature are (1) to understand the negative archetypes of ecopsychologists as excessive values of our culture; (2) to nourish the positive archetypes of ecopsychologists in each individual life and community to promote personal and cultural wholeness; and (3) to remain open to what nature is telling us through the archetypes by continually reestablishing a connection to the more-than-human world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peterson, Christine
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Biographies, Environmental philosophy, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Analytical psychology, Archetypes, Ecophilosophy, Fisher, Andy, Griffin, Susan, Jungian psychology, Kanner, Alan, Macy, Joanna, Narrative analysis, Perluss, Betsy, Social alienation, Sustainable culture
Publication Number: 3519789
ISBN: 978-1-267-50689-4
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