Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Trauma, dissociation, and archetypes
by Owen, Mary Hargett, M.A., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2011, 121; 1492830
Abstract (Summary)

The focus of this thesis is an exploration of dissociation as a defense against trauma. Dissociation allows the psyche to withstand trauma; however, the individual affected by dissociation pays a high price for this defense. Dissociation is difficult to assess as symptoms tend to mask and present as other pathologies. In this heuristic inquiry, the term dissociation is understood to mean a split in consciousness that protects the psyche from remembering horrific events and suffering the overwhelmingly damaging consequence of unmet dependency needs.

Donald Kalsched’s (1996) theory and experience regarding trauma is singularly important to this work. Kalsched’s view of the psyche and how a child might dissociate to contain trauma is a novel approach in understanding how the psyche protects then persecutes. From a clinical and personal perspective, the theory that dissociation as a beneficial protective defense at inception and later turns on the psyche provides the therapist with a deeper understanding of symptomology and treatment. Jungian theory holds that archetypes are not just one static concept but change constantly trying to balance the opposites. In this framework, it is plausible that an unconscious self-care system would alternate between protection and persecution.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pye, Lori
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Psychology, Clinical psychology
Publication Number: 1492830
ISBN: 978-1-124-56721-1
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