Dissertation Archive

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We are very proud of the common thread that runs through all the dissertations produced at ICSW—they are grounded in clinical practice and tend to be highly useful in furthering our understanding of human beings.

As you will see from this listing, a wide range of topics have been explored by students using numerous research methods and grounded in a variety of epistemologies. All of our research is original and reflective of each student’s interests. At ICSW, faculty support students in the research process by offering expertise and assistance from the first year of classes until completion of the dissertation.

An evaluation of mythodrama intervention among middle school students

This study utilizes Allan Guggenbuhl's seven-step Mythodrama method of resolving conflict and bullying in a school setting which has proven successful in Europe, applies to a school setting in the United States, and measure that application to see if this intervention for addressing conflict and bullying is successful in a setting in the United States. Pre-and post-testing was conducted and some statistically significant improvement post-intervention was found. Study results suggest this methodology would have efficacy when applied broadly in US schools.

Vicissitudes of Hope in the Psychoanalytic Clinician: An Exploratory Study

The objective of this psychoanalytic case study was to examine what comprises the vicissitudes of hope in five seasoned clinicians over the course of their professional lives. The data was obtained through several interviews with each participant. The data was first analyzed by looking at each individual narrative for the resonant themes that emerged for each participant. The findings then were compared across individual narratives to construct a more detailed psychoanalytic understanding of the meaning of the vicissitudes of hope for these participants. The overarching finding is that the sense of hope of the participants stemmed from a larger and more expansive experience of the self. The state of the self develops over time through the integration of experiences, of which professional experience is one facet. The participants also described a developmental trajectory in terms of the establishment of professional self-esteem and the expansion of professional hope that occurred over time. The vicissitudes of hope in the countertransference was found to be an inevitable and valuable part of the treatment process for the participants. These countertransference expressions of hope were forms of communication from the patient, the psychoanalytic clinicians studied, or how they and their patients come together that could be used to facilitate the treatment or deepen self-understanding of the participants. The participants actively regulated their hope over time to maintain hopefulness through an ongoing process of self-expansion and self-protection.

The experience of grandchildren of holocaust survivors

This study which follows, that of Experience of Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors neither sought nor avoided a clinical population. The purpose was to look at the experiences of the third generations of survivors: the grandchildren. The meaning of being a grandchild of survivors based on their subjective experience was examined as part of this study. This study explored the images and memories that each of the grandchildren had of their past experience growing up as part of a survivor family. This study also explored the meaning of being a grandchild of survivors and what it has for them in the present and how they connect those experiences to their future.

Functions of countertransference in psychotherapy of borderline disorder: The clinician's experience

Treating the borderline patient is an arduous and formidable endeavor. It is intense and unsettling. It challenges the therapist to submit to extraordinarily uncomfortable experiences which one would otherwise wish to avoid. These experiences often include dangerous, impulsive , and self-destructive acts on the part of the patient. Such behaviors constellate strong, visceral countertransference reactions in the therapist. Therapists often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by these patients' "suicidal threats, unreasonable demands, and a wide variety of other coercive behaviors to draw the therapist out of a position of psychotherapeutic neutrality and into the roles of caretaker, parent, persecutor, and adversary. These issues must be considered in the treatment of borderline personalities.

Praying in the face of life-threatening illness

This study describes the meaning of praying to adults during the illness experience. Using hermeneutic phenomenology, thematic analysis discerns five findings from transcripts with 19 in-person semi-structured interviews of ten urban participants between ages 40 and 65. Praying must be palatable, that is the experience must be congruent to the individual. Praying moves participants from one self state to another. The ability to pray may be lost and then found again, often in unpredictable ways. Praying evokes a connection to a person to a person, deity or belief. Praying attempts to comprehend the incomprehensible. Palatable prayer is contrasted with a visceral negative response to unpalatable prayer or nonconductive environments. Despite a quest for personal authorship, participants seek validation for their prayer experiences. Praying invigorates and restores the self, is an affective experience consisting of vitality affects and temporal contours that result from affect attunement and is best described as a nonlinear dynamic system. Praying is emergent and fragile and an apt subject for the clinical process. If the individuals praying feel narcissistically vulnerable, they may feel their prayer experiences may not be validated. This study prompts further research regarding the meaning of praying during various life events, particular life stages or within the context of a particular group.

The experience of latency age children with intermittent fluctuating hearing problems

The Piers-Harris Children's Self-concept Scale and a semi-structured interview instrument were used to assess the self-esteem and the experiences of 46 latency age children with middle ear disease to determine the impact of the hearing problems on the psychosocial functioning of the children. The intermittent, fluctuating hearing problems did not appear to affect adversely the overall self-esteem of the study sample. The children's experiences created some stress and some anxiety yet their functioning, intrapsychically and interpersonally, was adequate. The level of functioning suggests that the environments of the children which included families, peers and others, were able to meet the children's emotional and physical needs sufficiently and this enabled them to perform in school and form peer relationships generally well.

Decorated commissioned officers from the Vietnam War: A study of heroism

This dissertation is a study of heroes, specifically, decorated commissioned officers from the Vietnam War. These officers were awarded medals of valor for the outstanding acts of gallantry and leadership which they executed during their tours in Southeast Asia. In the context of the narratives, they discussed their experiences in depth, not only those which occurred during the War, but also their early years and post-war statuses and situations. The research methodology utilized in this study is grounded theory, a qualitative, naturalistic paradigm from which the theory emerges. The research question presented to the officers was "What is your experience of being a decorated commissioned officer in the Vietnam War?" The emphasis of this study is on the development of theory about heroes.

How Do Psychodynamic Social Workers Understand Empathy?

This study examines how psychodynamic social workers understand empathy. Using a constructivist, grounded theory approach, the researcher interviewed 20 psychodynamic social workers with over five years of clinical experience. Each audio-recorded interview was an hour to an hour and a half and took place in the clinician's or researcher's professional office. The researcher maintained all interviewees' confidentiality and closely studied, coded, and collated the data. As a result of the clinician interviews, the researcher found that empathy can be innate and empathy can be learned. She also had several sub-findings. Clinicians stated that they deepen their understanding of empathy through what their clients teach them, that they look for client meaning as part of understanding empathy, and that empathy is a choice. Clinicians interviewed also emphasized the importance of suspending judgment and considering clients' cultural contexts as part of their understanding of empathy. All clinicians interviewed stressed the importance of understanding countertransference as it informs psychotherapeutic work. The researcher analyzed the data in this study through a self psychology lens. She conducted a thorough literature search and then looked at the data through that lens as part of her analysis of how clinicians understand empathy.

Secrecy and strained relationships: Moving to a same-sex stepfamily

This qualitative study explored the subjective experiences of 20 participants who as children transitioned from living with heterosexual parents to living in a same sex stepfamily following parental disclosure of homosexuality and subsequent divorce. This researcher used grounded theory procedures to analyze data gathered from participant interviews, interpreting the findings using object relations psychoanalytic theory. Chaos and strained family relationships stemming from marital distress in the intact family continued and intensified already deteriorating participant and parent relationships. The quality of ongoing parental ministrations mitigated participants' reactions to post-divorce circumstances. As adults, many participants questioned the permanency of their relationships or held back from fully engaging with others. Although parental secrecy and ambiguity about being gay or lesbian flourished, participants' defenses were heightened to keep parental sexuality repressed. Even though participants did not talk about their gay or lesbian parent or stepfamily for some time, developmental factors contributed to a relaxation of defenses and allowed them to reflect on their past. Participants' basic sense of themselves and their parent was not altered by the parent's changed sexual orientation and the participants did not wish for return of the parent's original heterosexual orientation. In concluding, there is a presentation of clinical implications and recommendations for future research based on the findings.

The wound that never heals: Narratives of losing a loved one in a homicide

The experience of losing a loved one in a homicide is devastating, as the lives of the survivors are changed forever and they are left to tend a wound that never heals. This study explores the narratives of ten people who have experienced the trauma of the murder of a loved one. Narratives were collected in interviews and then analyzed using a three pronged methodology, uniquely combining narrative theory, grounded theory, and ethnography. The analysis of the data revealed three major categories delineating the experience of this traumatic loss: "Testifying," "Reverberations," and "Reconstitution." In "Testifying, " interviewees expressed the need to talk about their experience, describe the details of the homicide, and speak of their relationship with the murder victim. "Reverberations" addressed the manner in which interviewees death with the aftermath of the homicide including emotional aspects, the interminable nature of the loss, and the legal issues. The effort to reorganize following the homicide was evident in "Reconstitution," as interviewees explored the ways in which they attempted to make sense of the murder, take positive action, memorialize the victim, and utilize spiritual beliefs and the support of significant others. These findings are particularly significant when considered on a social theoretical level. Socially, the findings underscore several pertinent issues in the criminal justice system, reveal an ethnic difference as African American interviewees appeared to cope more effectively with their loss than did Caucasian interviewees, and describe the ways in which people need to be supported and provided opportunities to memorialize the victim. On a theoretical level, the findings accentuate the importance of a narrative based research methodology, and challenge many existing theories concerning loss and bereavement. Clinically, there are implications concerning the treatment model used in working with survivors, countertransference issues specific to work with this population, and the need for the clinician to support positive action as the survivor recovers from this traumatic loss. Implications for future research, theory development, and policy issues are discussed.

Adoptive fathers' attitudes toward birthfathers (1998)

This was an exploratory study of adoptive fathers and their attitudes toward birthfathers. This research project included adoptive fathers of children adopted before three years of age. The present ages of the children range from infancy to adolescence. This study addressed the question: What are adoptive fathers' attitudes toward birthfathers? Some demographics, such as father's age, length of marriage and occupation, as well as each child's present age, age at time of placement and gender were collected. All the factors were also compared among the three groups of participants from the files of the three groups of social workers.

BDSM Experiences, Relationships, and Scenes in Southern Dominants

This study explored the various meanings that heterosexual male Dominants assigned to their relationships and sexual scenes with their submissive partners. Utilizing a multiple case study methodology, seven participants were each interviewed five times regarding their family history, interest in and practice of BDSM, relationship history, and the internal emotional impact of the interactions that take place during a scene with a submissive. The finds showed that there was an important element of restitution for the participants during the scene, wherein they were able to work toward reconciliation of individual childhood experiences. A clear sadomasochistic pattern also emerged in the adult relationships of the participants. Additionally, there was a distinct need by most participants to connect with their partner in an emotionally significant manner.

The Emergence of the Clinical Self in Supervision

This research describes helpful experiences in psychoanalytically-focused supervision as described by supervisees. Studies on subjective experiences of supervisees are extremely limited. This qualitative study uses three stages of data collection in order to describe the essence of helpful experiences in clinical supervision as described by thirteen clinicians who were in the role of clinical supervisees either in the present or the past. The participants from the study were drawn from four disciplines in the field of mental health and were from the three largest metropolitan areas in California and a small town in Oregon. The findings were broken down into 12 themes. Implications of this study strongly suggest new guidelines for supervisory training.

On the clinical and theoretical significance of repetitive signifiers as exemplified by proper names

The project was an investigation into the relationship of words to meaning in language, with emphasis on repetition. It has not addressed the referential function of language. Language connections between the signifier and signified can be studied and understood. The examination of relationships in terms of opposites, metaphors (things grouped by similarities), and metonymies (things grouped by contiguity) was expected to reveal the development of chains of signification from which private and unconscious meanings can be interpreted. The following questions were addressed: Does a repetition of the formation of significant relationships with people of the same name indicate a lack in a signifier within a signifying chain? Can the link and its lack be demonstrated by the subject's construction of signifying chains of values, beliefs and feelings associated with name signifiers? What does a breakdown in the signifying chain mean diagnostically and in the context of treatment?

Lifetime patterns of maternal substance abuse as a predictor of child maltreatment and child developmental outcomes

To determine whether a relationship between maternal lifetime patterns of alcohol and illicit drug use is linked to child maltreatment and poor child outcomes supported by a Fairbairmain Perspective of Developmental Psychopathology. This perspective explains how alcohol and illicit drug use contributes to child maltreatment and poor child outcomes by a depletion of the central ego and an over investment in the libidinal and antilibidinal ego.

Identity and the new mother

This study explores the effect of motherhood on new mothers. Until recently observations were made about mothers in consequence to observations made about their infants who were the primary focus of research rather than the mothers. In this study new mothers were interviewed directly several times between their third trimester and 6 months postpartum. There were 17 new mothers who volunteered for this study. All were first time mothers, educated at the college level, many had master degrees and a few had their doctorates, and prior to motherhood all had been actively involved in either academic or professional pursuits.

The relationship between Facebook use and disorders of the self

With the advent of social networking sites, the face-to-face interactions and social life of many Facebook users have been impacted by online interactions. This study explores the connection between the use of Facebook and narcissism levels in 18 to 29- year-olds. Using quantitative methodology, 123 participants, 68 male and 55 female ranging in age from 18 to 29 were randomly selected and administered an online survey. The data from this study shows that Facebook use has a tendency to become habitual or integrated into the daily habits of its users. These respondents increasingly used Facebook as a means to communicate, share, show, seek attention, and to connect with others. The results from this study suggest the longer one is on Facebook the more deeply embedded it becomes in one's life. These online interactions do not supply the necessary ingredients for healthy self-development. The findings were further explored by age group. Particular attention was given to those within the 18 to 21-year-old age groups, who at the time were 13 to16-year-old adolescents when Facebook became part of the social life. Those in this group use Facebook more frequently and use it as a means to gain status and attention.

An exploration of the impact of the AIDS epidemic on gay men in midlife

This study utilizes Allan Guggenbuhl's seven-step Mythodrama method of resolving conflict and bullying in a school setting which has proven successful in Europe, applies to a school setting in the United States, and measure that application to see if this intervention for addressing conflict and bullying is successful in a setting in the United States. Pre-and post-testing was conducted and some statistically significant improvement post-intervention was found. Study results suggest this methodology would have efficacy when applied broadly in US schools.

Empathy and burnout in nurses

This study will analyze a group of adult offenders, their victims, and the mediators who work with them. Through examination of a variety of fields of thought, this study explores how the developmental impairment of empathy, along with considerations such as lack of personal agency and the individual's theory of mind can impact the later perpetration of violence on another human being along with the subsequent opportunity for resolution and change. The concept of empathy is developed from its definition as a simply internal state, to that of an intersubjective agent, having meaning found in an intense relationship.

Empathy and burnout in nurses

In a sequential, mixed-method study designed to gain understanding of the role of empathy in nurses not experiencing burnout, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was administered to female nurses at a small hospital. No significant correlations indicating possible psychological factors as opposed to occupational factors were found. Potential interview candidates were identified using MBI scores. Twenty-two Caucasian female nurses (ages 25-59) from a cross-section of units were interviewed. Grounded theory was used to analyze interviews, and findings were interpreted from a self psychology perspective. All of the interviewees recognized compassion and empathy as key characteristics of nurses. Each nurse had her own theory of the nurse/patient relationship; thorough examination revealed that many facets were involved, with empathy as an assumed ingredient.

Veterans' Experiences of Affiliation in the American Legion

This qualitative study explored the lived experience of affiliation among veterans in the American Legion. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), this thematic analysis resulted in five findings that emerged from fifteen in--depth interviews of nine veterans.

Determinants of social workers' treatment modality preferences in marital therapy

This research was designed to be an exploratory study of social workers' preferences of treatment modalities in working with clients who seek treatment for marital problems. The study was designed as exploratory because of the limited research on the factors which influence how a clinician develops a preference for a modality in their clinical practice. The data were generated by the use of a survey constructed by the researcher, which allowed the respondents to elaborate on their preferences, decision making and clinical experiences.

Dimensions of Selfobject Needs and Eating Disorders Recovery

Using the conceptual framework of Kohut's self psychology, this study made preliminary distinctions in the relationship between dimensions of self object needs, the therapeutic alliance, and eating disorders recovery. A sample of women (N=151), who self reported a history of or current eating disorders behaviors, thoughts, and attitudes, completed an internet based survey. The website survey consisted of three instruments, open ended text box questions and demographic questions; totaling 91 questions n the survey. The survey was designed to assess participants' self object needs orientation., eating disorders recovery, self-efficacy, the therapeutic alliance, and ideas and attitudes regarding eating disorders recovery.

Therapists' use of self: Countertransference in pastoral counseling and clinical social work

This study was designed to investigate therapist's conceptualization and utilization of countertransference, through a comparative empirical study of two therapeutic disciplines: pastoral counselors/psychotherapists and clinical social workers. Two major areas of investigation included the possible effects of religious training of psychotherapists on the use of the self in psychotherapy, and the possible interaction between attitudes toward countertransference and actual reported non-verbal enactments (both ethical and unethical).

The experience of older adults looking back

This dissertation focused on what it is like to be an older person looking back. It demonstrates the subjective experiences of older adults looking back on their pasts. It describes and elaborates the thoughts and feelings that emerge within the older adult as he or she reminisces. This is significant because most investigations in this area have failed to explore subjective aspects of experience. Furthermore, it is meaningful because it is essential to try to understand the common inner experiences of developmental periods of time.

An autobiographical approach to the psychological study of hope

Hope has been increasingly studied in American psychology over the last decade, although it remains a virgin topic in the field. The intent of this work is to examine the phenomenology of hope from developmental and constructivist perspectives, while utilizing a narrative psychological approach. This study makes inquiry about the composition of hope, its cognitive and affective features, and more specifically how hope is used as a sustaining force midst severe adversity. Concern is raised as to whether hope is instilled, initiated, taught/learned or contagious. Memory is explored as an aspect of continued hoping.

Experiences at midlife of intentionally childfree women

This qualitative study explored the subjective experiences of fifteen intentionally childfree, midlife women (ages 40 to 60) who were married or partnered at least eight years. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews using a semi-structured interview format and followed grounded theory methods to analyze the data. Findings were interpreted mainly from self-psychological and developmental perspectives. Results indicated that the women chose one of three pathways to their childfree status: Knew Early, Decision Evolved, or Circumstances.

The psychological and social effects of not feeling black enough

The subjects of this study were African-Americans, raised in a meddle class culture, with middle-class preferences for education, grooming, dress, entertainment, recreation, and the use of Standard English; they were educated with non middle class, urban, African-Americans who criticized them for their middle class cultural orientation. In search of amore Afro-centric ethnic identity and to gain the social acceptance of their urban peers, they attempted to adopt urban cultural characteristics, including manner of speech, grooming, dress, entertainment, and even criminal behavior. Generally, these tactics were not successful and the subjects became objects of social rejection.

The creative inner voice: A study of the Intensive Journal (TM) process

The Creative Inner Voice is a qualitative study of the experience of journal writers using the Ira Progoff Intensive Journal Process for eight years or longer. The methodology utilized included Narrative, Denzin's Interpretive Interactionism, and Ethnography. Fourteen participant were interviewed. Vignettes, in the participants own voice, demonstrate the thick, rich description of epiphanies, metaphors and themes, as they emerge in the journal writing to illustrate the developmental process for each participant. Each participants narrative illustrates the integration of Winnicott's transitional phenomena, Freeman's four stages of epiphanies and Kegan's adult developmental stages through journal writing.

Siblings of a certain age: The impact of aging parents on adult sibling relationships

This study examines the impact of aging parents on adult sibling relationships. Using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, the study investigates the lived experiences of 17 men and women between 40 and 65 years of age who have at least one living full sibling and one living parent. Respondents each participated in at least two in-depth interviews of at least three hours, and the researcher constructed a thick description and analysis of themes. The initial premises of the study are that one of the most commonly experienced stressors of adulthood is dealing with aging parents, adults of the "sandwich generation" often find themselves dealing with their own siblings around emotional and physical care-giving of aging parents, and these experience s can re-activate latent family dynamics which siblings often believe they had moved away from years earlier.

Impact of hemophilia on the father

This was a quantitative exploratory study of the impact of hemophilia, a genetically linked and maternal transmitted disorder, on the parenting experience of fathers. The research hypotheses were examined by means of a structured mailed questionnaire. Descriptive and correlational statistics were used to analyze the data.

Contested stories: Self-narratives of children of divorced parents

This research investigated how adolescents and young adults of divorced parents assign personal meaning to their decision to change the child-parent living arrangements. This study used a clinical ethnography methodology and interviewed twelve research participants. Although this study was exploratory in nature, it is the first to look at the process and the assignment of meaning by the adolescents and young adults to this decision.

Upward Mobility in African American Men from Urban Poverty

This project explored the subjective experiences of five upwardly mobile professional African American men who originated from urban poverty using a case study methodology. The study attempted to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of moving in between socially constructed positions. The men in this study move from growing up in poverty to being professionals in a new social class. Each participant was interviewed five times. A sixth meeting was held after the individual case analysis was completed to check for validity from the participant's perspective. The interview material was analyzed through within-case analyses and cross-case analyses.

The meaning of her child's death: A mother's experience of grief

A young adult child's sudden death is traumatic and significantly life changing for the mother. She no longer perceives herself, her world, or the others in that world in the same way she did before the death. She knows she is no longer who she was and questions who she will become, or if she will become anyone. This study searches for the essence, the meaning, of this lived experience.

Modulating supervisory technique with psychologically impaired supervisees

Twenty-five clinical social work supervisors were interviewed to explore how they modulated their responses to psychologically impaired supervisees. For the purposes of this study, a psychologically impaired supervisee was defined as a supervisee whose unresolved emotional issues impaired his or her ability to engage in the supervisory or therapeutic task. The supervisors interviewed had been practicing and supervising for an average of 29 and 20 years, respectively.

Protective vigilance: The experience of parenting an adolescent who has learning disabilities

This research examines the self-reported experience of a group of parents of adolescents who have been diagnosed as having learning disabilities.

Gang Members' Experiences of Childhood Care and Gang Involvement

This phenomenological study offers an in-depth exploration of eight former gang members' experiences with caregivers, significant adults, and other gang members and how those relationships affected decisions to join gangs. New findings emerged about the effect of relationships and exposure to trauma and violence on one's sense of self and self-deficit formation. These finding present clinical as well as policy opportunities for gang prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation.

The Impact of Yoga on the Lives of Psychotherapists

This study explored the impact of the practice of yoga on the personal and professional lives of psychotherapists. The study was qualitative, using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. Licensed psychotherapists were interviewed in depth, about their perceptions regarding the influence of their yoga practices on their personal lives and professional work.

An examination of social media behavior and cyber-bullying

The research was conducted via a mixed-methods, founded theory approach with 90 subjects, aged 18-23, initially completing an online screening survey followed by in-depth interviews with 15 subjects who met the screening requirements. Findings show that the participants had difficulty in identifying their behaviors as cyber-bullying even when the behaviors were consistent with their definitions of cyber-bullying. Participants reported that it was acceptable "to look away" or take a passive by-stander role when witnessing cyber-bullying under specific circumstances. Most reported that they cyberbullied either because peer groups were engaging in that behavior or because they wanted to cxdefend a friend. In retrospect, many expressed regret for having engaged in that behavior, an indicator of having achieved maturity.

Aspects of foster fathering: The reported experience of foster fathers

This study examined the gap in the foster care literature by directly engaging foster fathers in telling their story about their experiences. Results of this study form a substantive theory on foster fathering. This theory is applicable to the field of child welfare and is grounded in the reported experience of the men of the study. Knowledge gained from this study will enhance the understanding of foster fathers.

Exploring Countertransference of Therapists Providing Treatment to Perpetrators of War Atrocities

This qualitative research study shed light on the experience of countertransference as experienced by therapists whose patients have disclosed committing a war atrocity. In an attempt to understand and explain these reactions, a comprehensive literature review was presented within the perspective of relational theory. The relationship between the reported countertransference reactions and the treatment was then highlighted.

Late adolescents' use of music as transitional space

This study is a theoretical elaboration of D.W. Winnicott's concept of transitional space in the context of adolescents' uses of music. Based on a constructivist paradigm, it is an interdisciplinary narrative study utilizing the theories of Haydn White, Victor Turner, and Frank Kermode in a literary analysis to expand Winnicott's concept. Eleven narratives of late adolescents between the ages of 17 and 21 were analyzed according to these frameworks.

Representations of Borderline Patients in Treatment

The overall objective of this study was to look for evidence of development in object and self-representation at three different times in the treatment of patients with borderline personality disorder. These times were chosen to reflect the beginning patient, the patient in the early middle phase of treatment, and the long term patient. The theoretical constructs that were utilized came from various sources of psychoanalytic theory of borderline personality and object assessment measures previously validated for use with borderline patients.

Collective Efficacy & Its Influence on School-Based Mental Health Services

This study examines how group cohesion and determination impact the sustainability mental health programing in a school system. This phenomenological study also aims to identify the level of involvement of mental health therapists in school-based mental health programs and how the degree of involvement exerts its influence on program effectiveness. Ultimately, the establishment of collective efficacy, as well as how group cohesion and determination affects the overall goal of a sustainable mental health program within a school system, as the goal of this research. Additionally, this research attempts to examine and understand how interpersonal relationships influence collective group cohesion through the lens of relational theory.

Attachment, depression, and medication in adolescents with HIV infection

The medicine that kept infants born with HIV alive for years is now threatening their existence in adolescence. Antiretroviral medications decrease in efficacy and boost the virus if not taken nearly perfectly. Attachment issues are rampant in these adolescents due to maternal depression, addiction, and death. Attachment trauma contributes to depression and depression prompts non-adherence.

An exploration of influences of staff responses to adolescents on a twenty-four hour treatment milieu: With special emphasis on self psychology

Thirty-one adolescent milieu staff were interviewed from eight different treatment settings in the Midwest. The staff consistently reported having very intense relationships with select adolescents in their care. The staff/adolescent relationship themes that staff identified as most significant are contained in this report. The milieu staff were generally eager to provide information about their work experiences as well as personal background information.

Intergenerational transmission of abuse

The primary purpose of this study was to explore the impact of a maternal history of abuse and-or neglect-on the intergenerational transmission of child abuse. This study investigated the relationship between maternal history of victimization, external locus of control with respect to family functioning, specific maladaptive attitudes towards parenting, and parent-child conflict resolution techniques as one set of factors that contribute to the continuance of abusive and neglectful parenting behaviors.

Experience of African-American grandmothers in fostering relative adolescents

The aim of this study is to formulate a theory regarding placement stability and disruptions based on responses to questions in this area by specific respondents. There is also a need to understand why some kinship foster parents successfully manage relationships with their relative foster children whereas some did not.

A study of selfobject functions among heterosexual couples

The purpose of this study was to explore how transference-like phenomena are demonstrated in the self object functions experienced and desired by men and women in intimate relationships. The problem evolved from clinical observations of couples who, although they were discontent in their relationships, were emotionally attached to their partners. A common characteristic of these couples was their expectation of certain kinds of emotional responses from their intimate partners, conceptualized in self psychology terms as needs for self object functions.

Going back and forth: The child's experience of joint custody

The question that was addressed in this research was: What is it like to live in two homes for children of joint custody? The study utilized grounded theory methods, particularly as elaborated by Strauss and Corbin (1990). This methodology allowed the children to define and prioritize their own experience without being influenced by preconceived questions. The central objective of the study was to gain a fuller understanding of the experience of joint custody children, to describe and conceptualize it for others, and to formulate a theory about the experience and its parameters.

Women's experience of power

This exploratory study utilized the qualitative methodology of grounded theory and was informed by critical theory, exploiting the usefulness of both theories to understand how a group of women conceptualized their experience of power. Twenty-one women were interviewed in one to three sessions researching their experience of power. The women equated power with effectiveness, revealing power to be an inner process rather than an external force. The researcher came to understand the process which had a life of its own, as intense and complex regardless of the women's age at the time of the interview or the period of their life or others' lives to which they referred. The women emphasized the subjective activity of reflection, synthesis and integration as integral to power. There was an ongoing tension between the way they understood traditional power and their alternative meaning of power as a process.

Exploring the career motivations of health professionals: Impact of experience with an ill or handicapped sibling

The purpose of this research is to explore early experience with an ill or handicapped sibling and impact on career motivation in the health field.

The experience of grandmothers raising grandchildren

This study used a narrative approach and interviewed 20 African-American grandmothers from the Chicagoland area who have taken legal custody of their grandchildren. These in depth interviews develop an understanding of that experience from the grandmother's point of view. Using self psychology, to interpret the interviews, fived themes emerged: grandmother's sacrifice, the event that precipitated placement, the grandmother vs. mother role, legal issues, and life today.

Living and dying: The impact and implication of HIV/AIDS on psychotherapeutic process

This study addresses the question "What is the nature of the psychotherapeutic relationship between a therapist and a person who is dying of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)?" This research explores the development of the therapeutic relationship wo that the psychological needs of the dying person with AIDS (PWA) can be more fully understood and responded to as part of the process of psychotherapy.

Imprisoned intelligence: The discovery of undiagnosed learning disabilities in adults

The question for study in this investigation is "Shat are the experiences of adults diagnosed after the age of eighteen as learning disabled? " A total of 20 participants were involved in this study. The participants were articulate in talking about their experiences with their undiagnosed and diagnosed learning disabilities.

Selfobject Experience in Long-Term Friendships of Midlife Women

This phenomenological study offers an in depth exploration of how thirteen midlife females experienced their long-term friendships. This study presents new insight into the function of friendship on developmental tasks of midlife and how self object needs continue throughout midlife. Offering a psychodynamic understanding of friendship deepens therapeutic understanding of self.

An Examination of Adult Attachment and Liver Transplant Success

The purpose of this retrospective, quantitative, secondary data analysis pilot study was to examine if a relationship exists between adult attachment and liver transplant outcomes. A medical record review with a sample size of 20 was utilized for a period of six months post-transplant to analyze relationship occurrences among pre-transplant psychosocial evaluation, pre-transplant attachment scale scores and post-transplant outcomes.

An exploratory study of fathers' and adult daughters' perceptions of their relationship

This exploratory study examined fathers' and adult daughters' perceptions of their relationship. Twenty pairs of fathers and daughter were interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire. The fathers and daughters were interviewed separately, but asked similar questions regarding aspects of the adult daughter-father relationship. Areas explored included their communication, contact and involvement; perceptions of the other's personality; expectations for the relationship; positive and negative affects of the relationship; stressful situations in the daughter's life and their impact on her father; perceived individual needs; and understanding each other within the relationship.

The experience of mother at the crossroads of self and school

Understanding therapists' views of the construct of evil and its usefulness in creating meaning: A phenomenological study

This is a qualitative study focused on the subjective experiences of the participants in relation to the construct of evil. It is a study about perception and interpretation and meaning making. It is an effort to better understand the potential meanings clients may attach to the construct of evil when reporting experiences of evil as part of their histories.

Self-sustaining experiences and relationships reported by social work and clinical psychology doctorates during dissertation completion

The primary research question in this exploratory qualitative study is: What experiences and relationships were self-sustaining for doctoral students in Clinical Social Work and Counseling Psychology during the process of dissertation completion?

The therapeutic uses of music with inpatient chemically dependent males

The purpose of this study was to explore the supplemental use of music therapy in the treatment of inpatients is a chemical dependency treatment program. This study was developed to determine whether music therapy would enhance the patient's ability to articulate feelings and ultimately facilitate the treatment process.

Social-emotional disturbance in children with learning problems and a 15-point Wechsler performance IQ deficit

This study explores the cognitive and social-emotional profiles found in the records of 25 children between 8 and 12 years of age who have a 15-point discrepancy between Verbal and Performance IQ scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.

Mothering a child with ADHD: Learned mothering

The research method utilized grounded theory. This method was selected since there is no known research on the subjective experience of mothers of children with ADHD. A total of 25 mothers participated and were interviewed once; fifteen were interviewed a second time. The mothers ranged in age from their early 30s to early 50s.

Clinical social workers, psychoanalytic theory, and deepening the treatment

This research used a case study methodology and sought to identify core beliefs and techniques related to deepening treatment by clinical social workers who are psychoanalytic psychotherapists. The main proposition was that clinicians have significant responsibility for establishing depth in treatment. Five seasoned practitioners were interviewed multiple times. Data analysis occurred in two phases: the development of individual case reports which included participants' idiosyncratic definitions of depth and cross-case analysis resulting in shared themes that are considered the therapist's contributions toward depth.

Señoritas and princesses: The quinceañeara as a context for female development

This qualitative research study used grounded theory to understand Latina girls', young women's, and their families' experience of the Latina fifteenth birthday celebration, the quinceaneara. Based on interviews with 26 individuals with participants from urban areas in and around Chicago, the study illustrated how the quinceaneara provided a context for adolescent developmental tasks and challenges. In addition, the study provides possible direction to theorists and clinicians for ways in which they might revise psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice to better capture and respond to the urban, low-income, Latina experience.

The Experience of Infertility among African American Couples

This study examines the experience of infertility among African American couples. Six couples married for 10 or more years were interviewed. At least one member of each coupled has been diagnosed with infertility. Three of the couples were able to conceive together following fertility treatment. Two couples were unable to conceive following treatment and decided to adopt. One couple did not seek treatment and have been unable to conceive. A phenomenological research approach was utilized to analyze the data and formulate the results. The personal stories provided by the couples illustrate the profound impact the experience of infertility has had on their lives. The findings demonstrate how infertility can be a traumatizing event that is experienced differently by men and women. The distress of the experience challenges ones sense of self. The findings also suggest how religion and spirituality played a central role in the lives of the couples, helping them to cope with infertility.

In his own words: Longevity of the commited gay male relationship

This study focuses on relationship longevity of gay male couples as seen through the lens of object relations theory. Sixty-two couples (122 individuals) ages 34 to86 who were in relationships lasting 10 years or more participated in a three-phase, mixed methods study. Every individual participant provided narratives that were scored for the Object Relations Inventory and completed an online questionnaire that collected demographic information and participant rankings of attributes associated with early caregivers, their partners and their relationships.

The impact of mindful awareness on listening in psychodynamic psychotherapy

This study describes qualitative findings from 15 interviews, exploring experiences of mindfulness in psychodynamic listening. Embracing Freud's admonition to maintain "evenly suspended attention" to foster unconscious-to-unconscious communication in-session, this sample of seasoned psychodynamic clinicians disclosed attitudes and beliefs formed from years of experience, integrating their practices of mindfulness and psychotherapy. Transcripts from 90-minutes interview provided the phenomenological basis for analyzing their narrative data. Participants reported a common understanding of mindfulness and experienced it as integral to good quality psychotherapy.

Exploratory study of intimate relationships on and translated through the Internet

This study explored the narratives of people, who met people face-to-face hoping to establish an intimate relationship either romantically or sexually, but whose initial introduction to each other took place on the Internet. At least one face-to-face meeting occurred for each subject in order to be a participant in the study and outcomes of the contact that occurred in the face-to-face meetings varied among the participants. The design of this study incorporated a narrative interpretation of subject's stories and ethnographic perspective, which allowed subject's stories to be told to an interviewer who was part of the culture from which the stories have unfolded.

A study of the self-deficits in sexual offenders

This project was designed to study the level of deficits in the Self Psychology constructs of mirroring (grandiose, exhibitionistic) and merger (voyeuristic) needs in sexual offenders. This project empirically tested the hypotheses that deficits in either one or both of the above-mentioned developmental needs correlates with certain sexual offenses.

The effects of parental divorce in adolescence on the consolidation of the ego ideal

This exploratory, descriptive research study proposes to assess the possible effects of parental divorce during adolescence on the negotiation of those normal developmental tasks which mark the final stage of adolescence and entry into adulthood.

A longitudinal study of the impact of individual, familial, and community violence on child behavioral outcomes

This study examines the relationship of child abuse, domestic violence, and community violence in the sixth year of life to child behavior problems in the eighth year of life. The sample consisted of 320 mothers and children (African American, Hispanic, Caucasian) with low economic status. This study methodology consisted of a secondary analysis of longitudinal data collected over an 8-year period by the Juvenile Protective Association for the Capella Project.

Hatian-born mothers raising American-born daughters

This qualitative study uses grounded theory and social constructivism to explore American-born teenage daughters being raised by Haitian-born mothers. Findings include strong vibrant mother-daughter dyads that work in reciprocal ways, intertwined in powerful, dialectic, and reciprocal relationships that can only exist between mothers and daughters. The girls' strong bi-cultural identity provides a holding and facilitating environment and gives them positive self-regard and self-esteem. The mothers' integrative tendencies included the passing down of Haitian values to their children, their search for the American Dream, and the success of their daughters.

A phenomenological study into long-term friendships among men

This is a phenomenological study into long term friendships among men. Structures of relationship, nurturing of relationship, and meanings of relationship were explored with 20 men in 10 pars of friends. The men were friends for at least 15 years. An open-ended, exploratory interview, as well as a follow-up interview was done with each participant. Interpretations and themes named in the interviews were explored with the participants at the second interview.

Experience of mid-life women in the years after the deaths of their parents

This study explored the intrapsychic development of middle aged women whose parents had died. Using grounded theory methodology, 16 women between the ages of 46 and 65 were interviewed approximately 3 hours each. A developmental process seemed to emerge from the data. Many of the women said that after their parents died they found themselves: (a) experiencing intense affect and a sense of internal freedom; (b) remembering positive and negative experiences of their parents; (c) comparing those memories to past and present experiences of other important persons, institutions and activities, particularly siblings, partners, children and grandchildren, work, and religion; (d) evaluating and considering making changes in those relationships; (e) thinking about themselves, how they had changed and how they had remained the same over the years; (f) experiencing shifts in their sense of self, which included greater self confidence and a sense of more choices in their decisions and commitments; (g) and increasingly empathizing with the deceased parents.

Affect regulation: Homeless youth once in the child welfare system

This study focuses on the experiences of homeless youth who were formerly part of the child welfare system. Using a mixed-methods design, 12 young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 participated in a semi-structured qualitative interview designed to gather information regarding their experiences prior to, during, and since having exited substitute care. Subjects also completed a 32-question standardized measure of current functioning (Behavior and Symptom Identification Scale-oo-BASIS-32). Subject narratives are evaluated using a content analysis approach.

Postadolescence: Rebalancing Primary Ties and Connections

This study of current post adolescent experience explored how developmental processes of separation and individuation are reflected in shifting relationships with parents in the years of the twenties. Consolidation of these processes, which allows for transition into autonomous adulthood and mutual relatedness with parents, appears to be particularly challenging. Twenty participants between the ages of 23 and 29 were interviewed: constructionist grounded theory shaped the research process and data analysis.

Formation and features of a stepparent identity

Using narrative data for interviews with eleven stepparents, this qualitative study describes the experience of a positive stepparent identity of the stepparent's perspective. The findings are presented as themes that capture and organize the meaning of the data. The first theme establishes a "situational context" for stepparents by describing the normative experience of stepparents in regard to anticipated and unanticipated discontinuity in their status as stepparents and the consequent emotional experiences. The second theme, "the step-other," describes the presence and influence of the biological parent of the same gender as a fulcrum for role development and a point of departure and comparison in stepparent identity formation. A third theme, "the facilitator," describes the central processes that define and support an optimal stepparent role and identity. The "facilitator" theme is elaborated by describing a consistent set of underlying principles that guide the stepparent's sense of purpose and meaning.

The Lived Experience of Intuition among Psychodynamic Therapists

This study explores how psychodynamic psychotherapists think about and experience intuition in their clinical work. Although there is very little research on how intuition is used in psychotherapy practice regardless of theoretical orientation, in private conversations many practitioners acknowledge their use of intuition. It is considered to be a valuable way of knowing. Using van Manen's method of phenomenological inquiry, five psychodynamic clinicians were interviewed about their use of intuition in therapy. I found that intuition was believed to be an innate characteristic made up of curiosity, sensitivity, receptivity, and ability to observe things about others. The therapists in the study believed that intuition was shaped by and influenced by life experience, relationships with others, academic knowledge and clinical experience.