This theoretical study addresses the question of how spirituality affects a child's development of a sense of self and considers the role of the natural world in this process. The author uses a traditional hermeneutic method in combination with alchemical hermeneutics (Romanyshyn, 2007) in order to make room for the unconscious during the research process. The study is therefore both an examination of the interrelationships between self, spirituality, and the natural world, as well as a depiction of the author's use of self and the unconscious to penetrate the deeper dimensions of these interrelationships. Three main bodies of literature were reviewed for the study: children's spirituality, sense of self development, and the human-nature connection. In addition, the author made use of a logbook for the duration of the study to record dreams, symptoms, reveries, synchronicities, and the transference dialogues. These contributions from the unconscious were integrated with findings from the literature to articulate a new theoretical perspective on the child's development of a sense of self. The author finds that the spiritual life of the child is nurtured in communion with the natural world and that the child's sense of self is directly impacted by both the relationship with the natural world and her spiritual nature. Further, the author finds that the child's development of a spiritual sense of self in relationship with the natural world contributes to the reparation of the dissociation between human beings and the earth. The implications of this study for depth psychotherapy suggest that it is in our utmost interest to allow children opportunity to develop a sense of spiritual self in relationship with the earth. Both children and adults need opportunities to connect with the natural world in order for the spiritual self to emerge in the direction of human-earth unity. This study further implies that, in alchemical hermeneutics, depth psychology has an effective and reliable method of conducting research with the explicit participation of the unconscious in the research process.
|Commitee:||Hart, Tobin, Selig, Jennifer|
|School:||Pacifica Graduate Institute|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Clinical psychology, Spirituality|
|Keywords:||Children and nature, Children's spirituality, Nondual spirituality, Self, Sense of self development, Spirituality|
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