Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Taking the Helm: The Sacred Feminine, Sailing as a Therapeutic Spiritual Practice, and Women Survivors of Domestic Violence
by Derrig Heacox, Joan Elizabeth, Ph.D., St. Thomas University, 2020, 362; 28001658
Abstract (Summary)

Taking the Helm is a practical theological research study of racially and ethnically diverse women survivors of domestic violence, ages 24–60. The intent of this transformative, embedded, multi-phase, mixed method study is to develop the practical theological implications of the changes in women’s experiences of consciousness, embodiment, and empowerment over a period of four distinct phases and experiences. The research builds on feminist research methodology, narrative theory, kinesiology, the myth of the “Handless Maiden,” and three interventions: women as Sacred Feminine, embodied movement, and sailing. This research is grounded in creating sacred space for women survivor’s voice, female body, and practice to be accepted, acknowledged, and attentively engaged as Sacred Feminine, with the hope of interruption, transformative interpretation, and meaning making. Phase I creates awareness and engages women as Sacred Feminine. Phase II engages the participant in a kinesiological movement activity. Phase III is a sailing experience designed for women to learn to literally take the helm and adjust the sails. Phase IV is a follow-up interview to reflection on experiences. New meaning emerges as a result of interpreting the research through a new powerful transformative hermeneutic of women survivors of domestic violence as Sacred Feminine and her experiences through a hermeneutic of transformation of beingness and becomingness. What emerges in this research is women’s consciousness of self and the meaning she makes as empowered and embodied Sacred Feminine that is present as oneness, self-love, creativity, agency, authenticity, power, relatedness, and freedom, that in turn creates space to transform women survivors of domestic abuse and violence into women uniquely flourishing as she sails through life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Froehle, Bryan
Commitee: Bachay, Judith, Stevenson-Moessner, Jeanne
School: St. Thomas University
Department: Practical Theology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Theology, Pastoral Counseling, Spirituality, Womens studies
Keywords: Domestic violence, Intimate terrorism, Sacred feminine, Therapeutic sailing, Trauma recovery, Women's studies
Publication Number: 28001658
ISBN: 9798678124418
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