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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Delight in the Face of Death: Returning to Joy Under the Constraints of Chronic Illness
by Robison, Andrea, M.A., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2020, 61; 28151076
Abstract (Summary)

This research investigates chronic illness and the expression of the Thanatos and Eros dialectic when patients are regularly confronted with annihilation anxiety. The thesis addresses the research question: How can recovery be facilitated in patients confronting chronic illness by exploring protective psychological states that arise from tension between the amplified expressions of the dialectical drives of Eros and Thanatos? The theory and practice of imaginal psychology and a psychodynamic approach to identity structure are explored via heuristic and hermeneutic methodologies to help patients deal with the Thanatos-driven crisis of meaning that chronic illness creates. Using a depth psychological orientation to image and nonverbal expressions of suffering emerging from the unconscious is shown to catalyze Eros and the creative impulse. Through the therapeutic alliance and the therapist’s nonjudgmental interest, new protective expressions of the soul’s journey emerge to assist in returning the patient to the experience of meaning, delight, and creativity.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bennett, Matthew, Steffora, Tom
Commitee: Jacobsen, Gioia
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Counseling Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/9(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Therapy, Counseling Psychology
Keywords: Annihilation anxiety, Chronic illness, Eros, Jungian Theory, Recovery, Thanatos
Publication Number: 28151076
ISBN: 9798597014814
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