Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Narrative Inquiry into Community College Student Experience with Loss and Grief: Can Loss Be Transformational from a Post-Jungian Perspective
by D'Aloisio, Michael J., Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2017, 197; 10683421
Abstract (Summary)

How are ancient mythological figures like Sisyphus, who rolls his rock ceaselessly up a mountain, and Kali, the fierce Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, relevant for students today who suffer from trauma caused by the unexpected death of a loved one? Mythological stories rise above history and look beyond the “turbulent flux of random events to uncover what is enduring in human experience and glimpse the core of reality” (Armstrong, 2005, p. 7). According to Jung (1955, 2009), touching upon the mythic and archetypal level of the unconscious has the power to bring forth tremendous energy into one’s life. This qualitative study explores student stories about loss and grief, using a post-Jungian mythopoeic lens to construct meaning and discover purpose.

Most of the research to date on loss and grief has focused on the classical task and phase models of bereavement centered on emotional expression; however, few studies (e.g., Bocchino, 2008; Trammell, 1999) have examined the bereavement experiences of students at an urban community college. For this inquiry, key concepts that prohibit students from mourning, such as complicated grief and disenfranchised grief, are presented and a critical review of several paradigmatic perspectives on grief theory shed light on where we are today.

Four students were invited to tell their story about the loss of a loved one. This study demonstrates that a Jungian psychological perspective offers a road map to better understand how a student’s mourning process can be interpreted as a potentially transformative event.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Whitfield, Carol
Commitee: Meyer, Bruce, Strada, Alessandra
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: East-West Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Individuation, Meaning-making, Mythos, Traumatic grief
Publication Number: 10683421
ISBN: 978-0-355-65429-5
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