Using Giorgi's descriptive phenomenological psychological method, the written accounts of three heterosexual men who described their experiences of grief and mourning in relation to spousal bereavement were analyzed, individually and then collectively, so that general meaning units common among them might be revealed. Though interrelated, the general meaning units for grief and mourning were segregated. The seven general meaning units of grief were encountering Death; homeworld alienation; embodied suffering and loss of self-integrity; negative affects; social alienation and disaffection; agnizing losses; and yielding or enduring. The seven general meaning units of mourning were reflecting; remembering; reorienting; renewing; releasing; recovering; and integrating Death. These 14 general meaning units were compared to contemporary thanatological descriptions and approaches to grief and mourning as well as several depth psychological theories. The contemporary descriptions were reasonably consistent with the authored descriptions, but the rubrics used to organize the contemporary descriptions shared no similarity to the names or descriptions of the general meaning units. This study affirmed many of the contemporary criticisms of structured approaches and identified a few more. Contrary to contemporary criticism, classical psychoanalytic theory was reasonably consistent with some of the results of this study, but it lacked comprehensiveness. The descriptions in this study were consistent with attachment theory's concept of an internal working model, but they did not consistently affirm the manifestation or relevance of yearning or pining. Self psychology provided a reasonable theoretical foundation for the interpretation of phenomena related to the self; however, it lacked comprehensiveness with regard to other general meaning units that emerged in this study. Unlike other depth psychologies, analytical psychology assigns meaning to the experiences of grief and mourning (individuation) and its approach to the imaginal dimensions of grief and mourning are unique and valuable. Unfortunately, there is currently no integrated and coherent application of analytical psychology to grief or mourning. Archetypal psychology offers a rich and useful foundation for interpreting several of the general meaning units and descriptions in this study. The value of alchemical psychology is most evident in its explication of the nigredo. Unexpectedly, the importance of Nature became evident during the study.
|Commitee:||Ciofalo, Nuria, Hockley, Luke|
|School:||Pacifica Graduate Institute|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mental health, Counseling Psychology, Psychology, Individual & family studies|
|Keywords:||Depth psychology, Grief, Men, Mourning, Phenomenology, Spousal bereavement|
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