Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Depth psychological perspectives on alienation and violence in the school system
by Rose, Ingrid, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2007, 211; 3302074
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation employs a thematic hermeneutic method to explore experiences of alienation and violence found within the school system. A depth psychological view is used to illuminate the phenomena of alienation and violence occurring in schools, their relationship to each other, and their impact on all levels of systemic functioning. The subject matter is approached through three perspectives, namely, Jungian, imaginal and psychodynamic, with the use of composite case studies to illustrate theoretical premises.

The study suggests that expressions of school violence are linked to experiences of alienation inculcated by a variety of factors. A Jungian lens is used to study how repression of aggression and violence on cultural and socio-political levels may lead to individual violent expression. This often results in scapegoating of individuals, and loss of support for the individuation process. The study shows how individual and collective shadow material found in incidents of school aggression can become teleologically pertinent when transformed through conscious awareness.

Imaginal ideas and methods are introduced through the use of image, myth, and fairy tales. Process-oriented approaches show how awareness of body experiences and form give rise to images useful in understanding experiences of alienation. Techniques of active imagination and the use of dream images are also used to illustrate group casework with violent impulses.

In exploring antisocial tendencies, deprivation and achievement-based standards in the school system are seen to be factors linked to individual experiences of shame, revenge, hatred, and anger. In attempting to fulfill needs for recognition and inclusion, aggressive acts may be a cry of hope that the individual's longing for attention will be filled. Acts of violence temporarily bring the individual a sense of power and provide connection with others, breaking through the wall of isolation behind which the school avenger feels trapped. Intrapsychic factors such as grandiosity and envy are also explored. Implications for both depth psychology and clinical psychology are introduced.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sloan, Lisa
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational psychology, Teacher education, Psychotherapy
Keywords: Alienation, Bullying, Depth psychology, Group dialogue, School shootings, School violence, Violence
Publication Number: 3302074
ISBN: 978-0-549-47493-7
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