Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Exploring the Somatic Sensory and the Somatic Emotional Aspects of Immigration
by Selbert, Patricia A., Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2018, 294; 10839183
Abstract (Summary)

A significant number of immigrants internationally are bicultural and bilingual and must negotiate being suspended between their culture of origin and the host culture, a process that entails shifting between the two. Differences between the cultures can cause conflict within the psychological makeup of the immigrant and affect self-identity. This qualitative study sheds light on the immigrant’s unconscious somatic-sensory and somatic-emotional history and how it affects the immigrant’s identity. The research takes a somatic, depth psychological approach to exploring components of the immigrant experience. A hermeneutic investigation of the somatic constituents of depth psychology correlates them with current research in neuroscience in relation to the immigrant’s experience. Using heuristic inquiry, the author offers her own somatic experience of immigration and examines that of eight culturally diverse immigrant participants in a study guided by the method of interpretative phenomenological analysis. The participants’ responses to questions in semistructured interviews revealed somatic experiences of landscape, food and tastes, and language and sounds as tied to their identity as immigrants. The analysis of the data demonstrates the impact of the soma on the immigrant experience and vice versa and reveals how these immigrants made meaning of that experience in their attempt at acculturation. Common somatic-sensory and somatic-emotional patterns of experience detected in their stories revealed a psychological process whereby their experience of two cultures are synthesized into a new entity containing both somatic and psychic components: the immigrant archetype.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kipnis, Aaron
Commitee: Freed, Jennifer, Fuentes, Victor
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Somatic Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 79/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology
Keywords: Acculturation, Emotional, Immigration, Multicultural, Sensory, Somatic
Publication Number: 10839183
ISBN: 978-0-438-14912-0
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