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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Photographic Portrait as Mirror and Witness
by Sears, Jan Francis, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2020, 300; 28156713
Abstract (Summary)

Case study methodology and a personal experience narrative analysis (PENA) frame this exploration of the therapeutic use of portrait photography from a Jungian perspective. Underlying theory is examined regarding the psychological use of photographs, the distinction between empathy and compassion in mirroring and witnessing, the therapeutic benefits of storytelling, and the feminine function of the psyche. Concepts from analytical psychology that provide a foundation for analyzing this case study include the reflective and directional archetypal dynamics of the psyche, the process of individuation, and the telos toward wholeness. The case study involved one session in which a client was photographed and four processing sessions with the same photographs followed by a su mmary session. During processing, the client then sequenced and titled the photographs according to the emotional content she saw in them, relating the stories that spontaneously arose from them. The case study demonstrated the capacity of the photographic portrait to evoke meaningful stories and archetypal images. The therapeutic value of photographic portrait as mirror and witness was found to include its capacity to evoke unconscious memories, prompt and reflect the dynamic movement toward psychological wholeness, foster integration and transformation in the process of individuation, and facilitate healing through empathetic and compassionate storytelling and truth telling.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Glen
Commitee: Freed, Jennifer, Tyksinski, Rosemary
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Personality psychology, Individual & family studies, Ethics
Keywords: Archetypes, Individuation, Mirroring, Psychological photography, Storytelling, Witnessing, Empathy, Compassion, Truth-telling
Publication Number: 28156713
ISBN: 9798691282102
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