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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Narratives of trauma, spirituality, and healing: An Ecuadorian shamanic perspective
by Luna Pendleton, Brianna, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2013, 220; 3610762
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the relationship between the experience of trauma and the numinous. The study utilizes an imaginal approach to research, rooted in the philosophy of hermeneutics, with a narrative method of qualitative research. The research relies primarily upon narratives-the lived experiences and storied lives of indigenous Ecuadorian shamans- to explore the broader topic of trauma, spirituality, and healing. From this general research topic two specific questions guide the research inquiry: 1) How does a shamanic understanding of the relationship between the numinous and trauma make evident the role of the transpersonal in the treatment of trauma? 2) How might a shamanic understanding of trauma help clinical psychology adopt a more inclusive attitude toward the sacred dimensions of human experience?

Research participants included two indigenous shamans from the Quitu Cara tribe of Cochasqui, Ecuador. The narratives were largely kept intact in order to capture the voices of the indigenous shamans and to convey as accurately as possible their views on the subject. Additionally, two North American women were asked to provide written narratives of their experience of indigenous shamanic healing. The results of the research revealed a shamanic understanding of trauma that is embedded within a profound and sacred cosmological context. The shaman's understanding of trauma is intrinsically tied to spirituality and thus the relationship between the experience of trauma and of the numinous is entwined. Because the shamanic perspective of trauma is tied to a cosmological view of life, it offers psychology an expansive perspective that supports the inclusion of complimentary approaches to the clinical treatment of trauma, to include therapeutic modalities such as spiritual stories, metaphors, ritual, and ceremony. Finally, the indigenous shaman's knowledge and respect of the spiritual world was considered a critical factor in the experience of shamanic healing.

The results and implications of the research for depth-psychology suggests there is a place for the unconscious in the work of research; it also challenges depth-psychology to explore further the presence of love in the work of research with soul in mind.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gabrinetti, Paul
Commitee: Kovacs, Betty, Sloan, Lisa
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Ecuador, Hermeneutics, Narrative, Shamanism, Spirituality, Trauma
Publication Number: 3610762
ISBN: 978-1-303-70776-6
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