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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Voice as Embodied Sense: Rethinking Voice and Language in Trauma Healing
by Nettifee, Melinda, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2020, 341; 28156420
Abstract (Summary)

Something significant is lost when verbalization is defined as an act of cognition or mental insight, separate from or in opposition to the “felt-sense.” This research challenges this dualism by framing and investigating voice as an embodied sense. The fields of trauma theory and trauma healing practice are addressed as sites where the harm of such duality is keenly felt, and where the potential impact of an embodied, depth theory of voice and languaging can be identified. Using a grounded theory methodology informed by heuristic, hermeneutic, and phenomenological inquiry, qualitative data were gathered from both trained healing practitioners who work with voice and writers and spoken word artists with experience voicing their own trauma. The conceptualization of voice as a sense required the placement of traditionally disparate fields of research into dialogue with each other, the aim of which was to rethink trauma intervention from the perspective of a sensing voice that aspires to meaning and resolution. Findings suggested that post-traumatic silence and dissociated voicing involve somatic states of contraction and disconnection linked to unconscious psychological and autonomic nervous system defenses, and that the use of right-hemisphere linguistic circuitry in sensory voicing processes could be useful in renegotiating trauma. Embodied grounded analysis additionally contributes to the emerging field of somatic depth psychology through attention to the development of a theory of somatic psychopoetics that is capable of describing the alchemical process by which voice and language bridge the conscious/unconscious divide.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fikes, Kesha
Commitee: Schul, Jeanne, Kossak, Mitchell
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Somatic Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Psychobiology, Linguistics, Language, Rhetoric
Keywords: Depth pscyhology, Poetry, Somatics, Trauma healing, Voice, Verbalization
Publication Number: 28156420
ISBN: 9798691254352
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