Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Autoimmunity through Somatic Practice: Assessment of Authentic Movement in Supporting Multiple Sclerosis
by Selu, Elyn Maeve, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2019, 254; 28029544
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation details a study conducted with a group of women diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in rural Western North Carolina who participated in a 6-week Authentic Movement class. Multiple sclerosis is framed as a physical illness, which often means that the psychological impact of living with the myriad of neurologic symptoms is rarely addressed. The purpose of this study is to give voice to the lived experiences of women with MS by providing a context for moving into deeper relationship with symptoms. The intention was to ease symptoms through a self-directed movement meditation practice by cultivating interoception and active imagination, both self-reflective tools that support psychological wellness. The central finding of this study is that movement meditation practices must accommodate diverse cultural communities who may not have access to movement modalities that entrain interoceptive knowing. The researcher observed that the practice of group support became the medium through which participants acquired a language of embodiment. By developing interoceptive literacy, those with the immune-mediated disease of MS often discover a stronger sense of self and an internal locus of control that may have been lost in the disease course.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fikes, Kesha
Commitee: Fikes, Kesha, Pallaro, Patrizia, Nowak, Kenneth
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Somatic Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Psychology, Immunology, Disability studies
Keywords: Authentic, Autoimmunity, Interoception, Movement, Multiple, Sclerosis
Publication Number: 28029544
ISBN: 9798662488564
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