Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Refusing to be put aside: Women and the meaning of betrayal
by Dilenschneider, Anne Marie, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2010, 426; 3500722
Abstract (Summary)

Numerous studies by American mental health professionals focus on the ways women need to "forgive and forget" and thereby return to their pre-betrayal state after experiences of betrayal. However, literature from other countries suggests that betrayal is necessary for the growth and development of individuals and relationships. A fundamental recognition of this study is that women who refuse to be put aside, and do not "forgive and forget," have something to say about the meaning of betrayal. The process of betrayal has initiatory aspects that encourage a woman to speak in her own voice and set clear boundaries. These also hold her to the ethical obligation to live her life in a larger context.

This study explored the meaning women ascribe to their experiences of betrayal as they review them at mid-life. Six women, ages 40 to 64, from a variety of religious traditions (Christianity, Judaism, Ifa, Islam, Shintoism) and nationalities (American, Canadian, Chilean, Israeli, Japanese, Native American) participated in this study. All of these women had lived in the United States for at least 8 years. Each woman participated in three 1-hour interviews.

The voice-centered, relational method developed by Carol Gilligan and her colleagues at Harvard as The Listening Guide Method of Psychological Inquiry was followed for each woman's first and third interviews. The voices, experiences, and thoughts that surfaced in each interview through the four listening processes were summarized in an analysis. During the second interview each woman participated in the "In Our Own Voices" process. This associative process was developed by Carol Gilligan and Kristin Linklater to re-connect women with one aspect of their complex voices.

The processes of an imaginal approach and the alchemical hermeneutic method developed by Robert Romanyshyn at Pacifica Graduate Institute were also followed in this study to ensure that the re-searcher was listening to the ways in which the work was addressing her. Through these processes and this method, the re-searcher paid attention to her complex unconscious relationship with the material and to the ways that psyche expressed herself through symptoms, dreams, and intuitions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Romanyshyn, Robert
Commitee: Gilligan, Carol, Hall, Nor
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Betrayals, Forgiveness, Trauma
Publication Number: 3500722
ISBN: 978-1-267-22034-9
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