Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Transformations of bereavement in a psychomanteum process: Qualities of meaning and paths of change
by Merz, Rebecca J., Ph.D., Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2010, 161; 3407974
Abstract (Summary)

The psychomanteum process is a nontraditional intervention for grief in which bereaved individuals attempt to contact the deceased by means of a facilitated mirror-gazing procedure that induces a mild altered state of consciousness in the participant. This research reports qualities of participant experiences in a psychomanteum process used to ease grief components. The selection criterion for this study was based upon quantitative analysis of pre to post Likert-scale measurements with 100 participants, demonstrating statistically significant reductions in bereavement components such as feelings of anger and guilt, as well as significant increases in positive feelings, such as love. This qualitative study provides descriptions of the subjective experiences of participants (n=12) who experienced the most change from the data set of 100. The purpose of this study was to explore the qualities of meaning and transformation in the participant experience, as based on thematic content analysis of the transcripts of postsession interviews. The results of the research demonstrated meaningful shifts in affect, cognition, sensory perception, and shifts of a transpersonal nature, regardless of a perceived contact with the deceased. The psychomanteum process was commonly described as helpful, healing, comforting, and peaceful. As well, it was frequently reported that the experience left the participant with a sense of well-being and a feeling of serenity and acceptance. Almost all of the participants reported subtle, embodied phenomena that engaged multiple dimensions of conscious awareness. For some participants, a perceived contact experience established the meaning that the bond with the deceased would continue. Other participants found value in the psychomanteum process because it provided insights into personal challenges, sometimes originating from the relationship with the deceased. Some participants found a sense of closure regarding previously unresolved issues with the deceased or the situation surrounding the death. The findings emphasize the therapeutic value and benefit of the psychomanteum process. For bereaved individuals seeking contact with the deceased, the psychomanteum process may provide meaningful experiences that are healing and ease suffering associated with grief, as well as facilitate transformations in the continuing relationship with the deceased.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hastings, Arthur
Commitee: Heery, Myrtle, Swan, James
School: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Department: Residential Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Psychology, Spirituality
Keywords: Bereavement, Continuing bonds, Grief, Mirrors, Psychomanteum, Sense of presence
Publication Number: 3407974
ISBN: 978-1-124-03433-1
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