Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The gift of noetic image: Spontaneous imagery and psychological well-being in women with breast cancer
by Vail, Aleta Susan, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012, 191; 3531403
Abstract (Summary)

Research on the impact of guided or targeted imagery and the effect on measures of well-being and biological markers of immunity on breast cancer patients and survivors was reviewed. In contrast, no studies have explored the spontaneous images of breast cancer survivors. In this study, in-depth interviews were performed with nine female breast cancer survivors who self-identified as having spontaneous imagery. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) were applied to the interviews. The findings showed that in most cases spontaneous images, even the disturbing ones, were ultimately experienced as beneficial, providing relief from anxiety and giving meaning to the illness. Also, intentional images that were employed to replace unsatisfying guided imagery took on a life of their own and developed the same qualities as the spontaneous images. These images are being called noetic images, in that they arose from an inner intuition and embodied the following characteristics: seemed to come "out of nowhere," felt like a gift, took time to realize their importance or relevance, had a sense of "otherness," carried a religious or spiritual attitude, had a felt significance, were unexpected, and were often the product of discontinuity from previous patterns of thought. Text analysis revealed that talking about imagery tended to bring it into the present, and allowed in-the-moment processing rather than simply reporting. These images were beneficial in their effect on adjustment to the illness and giving meaning to the experience, as well as helping to resolve problematic life-long issues. Attention to noetic images can have practical application in psychology and medical practice in which the practitioner is open and receptive. The interpretation and meaning of the image is inherent in the experience of the imager, requiring no interpretation from the practitioner. Consideration of imagery in integrated psychology and medical practice may be beneficial to treatment.

Keywords: noetic, image, imagery, spontaneous, breast cancer

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Groth-Marnat, Gary
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Breast cancer, Imagery, Noetic, Psychological well-being, Spontaneous imagery
Publication Number: 3531403
ISBN: 9781267728708
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