Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

When Mourning Comes: A Phenomenological Exploration of Dreams of the Bereaved Parent
by Nicholson, N. Leigh, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2016, 375; 10182195
Abstract (Summary)

Loss of a child is the most complex death a person can experience. This event is multifaceted, containing intricate layers of mourning woven throughout the bereaved parent’s lifetime. Despite considerable attention emphasizing grief reactions of the bereaved, relatively few studies have recognized the unique mourning of bereaved parents, including dreams related to their child. This hermeneutic phenomenological study investigated the lived experience of six bereaved parents who have encountered significant dreams of their child. The study utilized a depth psychological lens based on Jung’s concept of the numinous—perceived as the mystery, the inexpressible, and that which pertains to the Divine. Data analysis yielded four supraordinate themes: Deepened Relationship with Self, Extended Relationship with Others, Intensified Relationship with It, and Heightened Relationship with God/Higher Power. This research sought to depathologize bereaved parents’ mourning and to cultivate awareness of the effects of dream encounters in order to foster hope and healing for the bereft parent. Results revealed that numinous dreams hold infinite potential, create a sense of meaning, and guide the bereaved parent toward psychological and spiritual transformation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yakushko, Oksana
Commitee: Lewis, Christine H., Macklin, Ken
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Clinical psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Bereaved parent, Continuing bonds, Dreams, Mourning, Numinous, Spiritual transformation
Publication Number: 10182195
ISBN: 9781369306040
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