Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Longing and Depression: A Case Study
by Davis, Jessica Leigh, M.A., University of West Georgia, 2020, 164; 27958996
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis presents a theoretical argument for a concept of the phenomenal experience of longing as a fundamental component for clinical depression, and is distinct from related terms such as loneliness, yearning, and mourning. I apply this concept of longing to investigate the subjective causes for individual experiences with depression by using a qualitative research design. Initially, I present current research and statistics on the prevalence, impact, and risk factors for depression. Thereafter, I discuss various theoretical formulations of depression with a discussion of benefits and limitations to our current understanding of depression. Next, I present a theoretical framework for longing and depression and provide a case study analysis, implementing an intuitive inquiry research method. I identified the following themes of longing and depression: (a) depression as a product of the processing of a fundamental experience with longing that gives rise to it (b) depression as an inability to manage longing from an absence of desire or conflicting desire perseveres in relation to the world (c) depression as a progression of unresolved mourning and internalized beliefs of self-degradation (d) depression as repressing desire and feeling stuck or powerless over individual development and circumstances (e) depression as longing for something intrinsically lost or missing with no insight of its origins. To bring lived experience to theory, I apply theoretical concepts to important events in the case study, as a beacon for its concepts and meanings. I conclude with a discussion of longing as a life-long fundamental emotion that seeks for the satisfaction and mirroring of fulfilled meanings and individual purpose. I introduce other related theoretical frameworks and treatment implications for therapy. I conclude with a discussion longing and depression as an invitation for the cultivation of new fulfilled meanings and compassion for collective human suffering.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kunkel, Mark
Commitee: Schor, Larry, Bolar, Cassandra
School: University of West Georgia
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- Georgia
Source: MAI 81/12(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychology, Mental health
Keywords: Depression, Freud, Interview with the Vampire, Longing, Psychoanalytic theory, Sehnsucht
Publication Number: 27958996
ISBN: 9798645478780
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