Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

There is an old woman: The final stage of individuation
by Bristow, Lois West, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2009, 264; 3417874
Abstract (Summary)

The central research questions of this study are: What is the final stage of individuation? How is it identified, integrated, felt, and lived? How can it become a conscious process? What is meant by the final stage of individuation? To answer, the research focuses on the role of story as it arises through memory retrieved in the context of this late-in-life study of depth psychology. The challenge was to move from having knowledge about the transformative elements in Jung's process of individuation to experiencing integrants intrinsic in the individuation process.

Using an arts-based methodology with story as the art form, words—with their capacity to carry emotion—provide a milieu wherein the essence of transformation can be ingested and digested at the soul level, where shifts in consciousness can be consciously lived. The power of story lies in the breadth and depth of its archetypal content. The key role of story based on memoir gives substantive form through which to engage the incremental stages of the individuation process as they emerge during this search for meaning and wholeness.

Emersion in the intensity of experiencing life through the marriage of experience re-lived through memory and experience as it is being lived is fundamental to this late-life individuation process. The amalgam of experiences, when fired in the alchemist's crucible, deepen the dimensions of the experiences, allowing their emergence in a new form of conscious transformation that is lived and expressed through the final stages of one woman's individuation process.

This hermeneutical heuristic process takes form in a coherent series of memoirs told as stories in conjunction with experiences born out of engagement in a doctoral program in depth psychology. Through the lens of depth psychology, focusing on Jung's process of individuation and his perspective on old age, this research is informed by the memories and lived-experiences of an older woman, who at 80 completes this study.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Denney, Mike
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Gerontology, Aging, Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Aging, Depth psychology, Individuation, Story, Transformation, Women elderly
Publication Number: 3417874
ISBN: 978-1-124-14669-0
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