Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Psychological obstacles to choosing psychotherapy: A phenomenological study with a depth psychological perspective
by Grofik, Elaine Kriss, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2007, 211; 3289679
Abstract (Summary)

Millions of Americans who are afflicted with mental illness go untreated. When violence is a symptom, afflicted individuals have the potential to affect the unafflicted in their personal lives and in their community. This phenomenological study addresses this issue from the standpoint of depth psychology in order to expand the current clinical and sociological knowledge of the obstacles, both conscious and unconscious, to seeking treatment. Seven men who were enrolled in a batterer's intervention program were the research participants. The data obtained revealed three primary conscious obstacles to choosing psychotherapy: fear, inability to identify need, and resistance to change. In addition to these obstacles were three lesser but significant obstacles: a resistance to recounting the past, a lack of confidence in therapy or therapists, and a concern that treatment would not be confidential.

The employment of a depth psychological lens revealed archetypal and mythic themes that emerged when psychic energy became autonomous within the interview process. Projections, resistance, and denial were exhibited but remained beyond consciousness. The stigma associated with mental illness was shown to be archetypal, active in the collective unconscious, and a redoubtable obstacle. The finding of determinate unconscious obstacles demonstrates the strength of psychological material that is present at the crossroads of decision. It is also significant that by qualitative standards, this study of seven individuals' experience of obstacles to choosing psychotherapy has a data base too small to generalize its findings, yet, the obstacles that manifested during the interviews are comparable to timeless traits that have been described in myth in numerous cultures for centuries. By utilizing depth psychology, the data were substantiated and generalized beyond the limits of what a traditional methodological approach could have provided. This result of the study supports the use of depth psychology in modern research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sharpe, Diana
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Community mental health, Depth psychological, Phenomenological, Psychological obstacles, Psychotherapy, Violence
Publication Number: 3289679
ISBN: 978-0-549-32619-9
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