Public Research Presentations
ST STEPHEN’S COLLEGE PUBLIC RESEARCH PRESENTATIONS
Theses and Project Dissertations
14 November 2016
Lister Centre, University of Alberta
2nd Floor, 87 Avenue/116 Street
Graduates will speak about their journey and research; audience members are encouraged to engage in conversation and ask questions.
Click on the Project Dissertation or Thesis title to view abstract.
|AURORA ROOM – Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Facilitator: Henriette Kelker, Interim Chair, Department of Advanced Degrees
|Time||Graduate||Title of Project Dissertation|
|Rose-Marie Nigli||Leading into Being: Enhancing Compassionate Imagination through Opera
Rose-Marie Nigli - DMin
Leading into Being: Enhancing Compassionate Imagination through Opera
This research, through a theology of appreciative voice, Presence and Service, used an Indigenous expressive arts-based approach in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, to explore how a group of 15 vulnerable, immigrant and/or first generation immigrant youth live with their struggles while finding compassion and imagination. My goal was to engage the youth aged 18-29 years, labeled “at risk”, in writing, designing, staging and performing an opera. Through this experience they found their individual and collective voices and were able to realize their leadership and emotional intelligence capabilities.
|Anne Marie Walsh||To Be Redemptorist: The Emerging Vocation of the Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer within the Redemptorist Family
Anne Marie Walsh - DMin
To Be Redemptorist: The Emerging Vocation of the Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer Within the Redemptorist Family
“Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer (LMMHR) are those lay people engaged in the closest form of partnership in mission with Redemptorists. The category of LMMHR was created by the 1991 General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. My dissertation addresses the question, ‘What is the vocation of the Lay Missionary of the Most Holy Redeemer within the Redemptorist family?’ I enter into exploration of this question first through a review of documents of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and the Roman Catholic Church. Next, I propose a theology of partnership in mission rooted in Scripture and Redemptorist history. The project portion of this work takes the form of a series of ethnographic interviews with LMMHRs. This is followed by the presentation and analysis of the results. One outcome is that unclear expectations of LMMHR and Redemptorist members resulted in a number of problems and difficulties in shared life and mission. More significantly, emerging from the analysis is a clear need for effective formation in and for partnership. Therefore, in the final chapter, I develop a model for a formation process for Lay Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer, and also for professed Redemptorists. This model is based on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, adapting the catechumenal model for formation in this specific context.”
|PRARIE ROOM – Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (MPS)
Facilitator: Ara Parker, Chair, Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
|Time||Graduate||Title of Thesis|
|2:00pm||Welcome and Poster Presentation Viewing|
|2:15pm||Charles Chenard (MPS-AT)||The Art of Compassion: Exploring and Integrating Counter-Emotions
Charles Chenard - MPS-AT
The Art of Compassion: Exploring and Integrating Counter-Emotions
Through arts-based research, interviews and facilitated discussions, this research explored how six volunteer participants were able to detect and integrate their counter-emotions; those emotions that represent a conflict between how we internally feel and experience an emotion, with our actual presentation of ourselves to others because of social conditioning. Participants explored the eight basic emotions (joy, trust, fear surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, anticipation) and through the creation of art, self-reflection, and discussion became present to their experience of having a counter-emotion. By exploring and unlearning previous negative beliefs about themselves, when experiencing a counter-emotion, they found a more compassionate view of self-emoting. Through this process, five central components surfaced for uncovering and integrating counter-emotions: lack of self-compassion; lack of congruency or a divided-self; a search for our true-self; a more compassionate self; and an emotional-spiritual experience. Learning self-compassion was another benefit of this artistic exploration of counter-emotions. Through self-acceptance and emotional honesty participants came closer to a truer self; more accepting of their counter-emotion and of others.
|2:30pm||Nicholas Jacobs (MPS)||Sex, Shame, and Spirituality: A Study of LIved Experience
Nicholas Jacobs - MPS
Sex, Shame, and Spirituality: A Study of Lived Experience
The concept of “emerging adulthood” (Arnett, 2000) marks a new independence from social roles and normative expectations. While sexual and spiritual identities are important aspects of self, with such freedom comes an increased vulnerability to experience shame, an example of this being the many faith communities morally opposed to premarital sexual behaviours (Barkan, 2006). A review of relevant literature on the topics of shame and a history of sexuality is provided, and offers a critique of several major theorists while identifying gaps in the literature related to this research. Guided by the tenets of hermeneutic phenomenology (van Manen, 1990), individuals’ shameful sexual experiences were explored through interviewing, reflecting an in-depth investigation aimed to describe and better understand the essence of shame. Findings include a rich and nuanced description of many layers of shame, which can better assist one to infer the influences of shame on the self, interpersonal relationships, and spiritual well-being. A discussion of the description of shame links aspects of individuals’ lived experiences back to relevant literature, and an exploration into several directions of future research is provided. Inferences gleaned from this research might assist individuals and helping professionals to alleviate harmful aspects of the experience of shame among themselves and their clients and equip individuals to develop healthier understandings of themselves, while also contributing to quality relationships and community-building. Closely looking at shame through this lens can prepare counsellors who work with clients struggling with such experiences.
|2:45pm||Deborah Kopeschny (MPS-AT)||The Phenomenological Experience of Zentangle (R) and the Implications for Art Therapy
Deborah Kopeschny - MPS-AT
The Phenomenological Experience of Zentangle® and the Implications for Art Therapy
This is a phenomenological exploration of Zentangle and its link to mindfulness, spirituality and Art Therapy. This study was developed from a personal practice of Zentangle as creative expression and art meditation. This expanded to understand Zentangle as a mindful/spiritual practice, and how Zentangle and Art Therapy facilitate healing and personal growth. Van Manen’s interpretive phenomenological method with art as research was used to reveal the lived experience of Zentangle. The study collected data from a focus group of a Zentangle experience, an art response, and semi-structured interviews. Seven participants in the study identified the experience of Zentangle as meeting definitions of mindfulness meditation and spirituality. The predominant description of the experience of Zentangle was its centering effect, which allows for alleviation of emotional and physical pain. The results showed that Zentangle is an alternative means to mindfulness, spirituality and can promote self-awareness, insight, creative problem solving and is used for self-expression. As a mindfulness, spiritual and Art Therapy tool it can affect emotional and physical well-being. Limitations of the study were the number and bias of participants and researcher. Additional studies regarding the use of Zentangle in therapeutic environments and with different populations would enhance its understanding, generalizability, and use for the Art Therapy profession.
|3:00pm||Marie Muggeridge (MPS-AT)||Empowerment Through Altered Books
Marie Muggeridge - MPS-AT
Empowerment Through Altered Books
The following is an Arts Based and Collaborative Inquiry research thesis, in which four female adolescent co-researchers engaged in group sessions to make altered books. The objective of this thesis is to explore the experience of empowerment of young women through creating altered books. The research question is, what happens when young women are given an opportunity to express themselves through the art practice of altered bookmaking? Four sessions of artmaking were held with the co-researchers as a group; subsequently, individuals met privately with the researcher to develop their chapters. The researcher used witnessed-art making to further investigate the empowerment of female adolescent voice. The findings included several themes: trusting the Spirit and therapeutic relationship, claiming authentic voice and wit(h)nessing spiritual connection revelation.
|3:15pm||Katherine (Kate) Porter (MPS)||Conceptualizing the Process of Identity Development in People with Insecure Attachment
Kate Porter - MPS
Conceptualizing the Process of Identity Development in People with Insecure Attachment
The purpose of this research was to generate a theory regarding the development of identity in people with insecure attachment. In semistructured interviews, the researcher asked five co-researchers, three women and two men, about areas of identity. The questions covered career development, emotional experience, grief and loss, religious or spiritual beliefs, and the co-researcher’s name. The methodological framework for this study was constructivist grounded theory. The process of data analysis involved coding, developing categories, and memo-writing. Theory emerged from the data by the constant comparative method. Awareness of researcher reflexivity was sustained during the design, interviewing, data analysis, and writing stages of the study. Fundamental to attachment theory was John Bowlby’s (as cited in Rothbard & Shaver, 1994) assertion that the child develops “internal working models” (p. 33) of the attachment figure and of the self in interaction with the attachment figure. These templates are based on the repeated interactions between infants and their primary caregivers during the first year of life and become the model for the child’s conceptions of self and self in relationships (West & Sheldon-Keller, 1994, p. 36). The present study proposes a Working Model of Self in People with Insecure Attachment. The co-researchers’, or participants’, working model was composed of mistrust, isolation, independent thought, and hiding self. As a consequence of failure in the attachment system, the Working Model of Self in People with Insecure Attachment, and the resulting emotional and social delays, the participants experienced a lost self. All of the participants experienced mental health crises in early to middle adulthood. The three female participants “found themselves” by a journey of reconnection with their emotional and spiritual self.
|3:30pm||Nola Sharp (MPS)||Embodied Sacred Knowing with Relational Consciousness
Nola Sharp - MPS
Embodied Sacred Knowing With Relational Consciousness
Much of the suffering today comes because people do not have a place to tell their story. (C.J. Jung)
This research recognizes the value of having a place for a person to tell their awakening stories for themselves, their communities and culture. I am using a narrative inquiry methodology for this research for the purpose of understanding the meaning of the awakening experience. The purpose of this study is to illuminate the meaning of people’s lived awakening experiences of sacred embodied knowing with relational consciousness. As these experiences are not the norm it can be difficult to put them into words. Within the public sphere we generally do not have audiences prepared to witness the experience of divine meaning…transcending human understanding. Such experiences permeate you with valuable knowing for yourself and potentially others. The experience of the mystical, transcends human knowing it is an experience beyond words and ideas. Such an experience may raise one’s consciousness and way of relating in the world. Potentially the value of the experience could be woven into one’s private, personal and public spaces. That way, the respect for the divine and the value of the knowing from the divine in the experience would not be lost. I am writing this thesis in a non-linear way; the movement of this work is spiral. The spiral is open and ongoing. It revisits the methods, stories and themes many times from a slightly different place on the spiral. The intent is that with each spiral our consciousness, opens to new understandings and meaning of the embodied sacred knowing with relational consciousness. This study invited the telling of the awakening experience. The use of story provides a way to enter into the awakening experience. Themes found in the respondents stories were, suffering, awakening, relational consciousness, death, rebirth, and self-identity/transformation. I hope to come to some understanding as to how sacred experience influences human development, consciousness and narratives.
|Poster Presentation Viewing|
Other Students graduating 14 November 2016:
Master of Theology:
Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality:
Sherry Bilida (MPS) – The Elephant in the Office: A Phenomenological Study of Spiritually-informed Student Therapists' Feelings of Incompetence in Early Therapeutic Encounters
This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of spiritually-informed student therapists’ feelings of incompetence in early therapeutic encounters. This aim was achieved by conducting two rounds of semi-structured interviews with three novice intern therapists, who identify as spiritually-focused practitioners. Together, with field notes and researcher’s reflections, these interviews were synthesized with the reviewed literature, to yield data that revealed four major themes. Key findings included: 1) Uncertainty is certain, which elaborated on somatic symptomology as indicators of ambiguous feelings, as well as uncertainty as feeling powerless and experiences of uncertainty in supervision. Loneliness and isolation and the impact of personal uncertainties completed the first theme. 2) The Game-Changer Syndrome was explained where student therapist’s held unrealistic expectations for their clients. This theme was trailed by a discussion on perfectionism and comparison as subsets of this condition. 3) Practicing with presence, where the role of silence was illuminated in attaining deeper therapeutic connections was also commonly experienced by my participants. 4) Therapists as conduits for the Divine completed the themes, shadowed by a conversation of spirituality’s role in alleviating feelings of incompetence. The principal conclusion was to shine a spotlight on these elephants that reside in our offices for educators, supervisors, students and colleagues to engage in a dialogue about their reality and ultimately mitigate these feelings of incompetence.
Neil Soggie (MPS) – I Am Happy: The Hermeneutics of Happiness Through an Existential Heuristic
At the heart of this thesis was one simple question, “What is the essence of my happiness?” This question was explored, with the guidance of the problem solving steps outlined in Heuristic research. I employed insights from my interests in classical psychology and existential phenomenology to further refine this process. The conclusion I arrived at was surprisingly simple; where the essence of my happiness is a combination of caring intentionality and living out a positive meaning. I discovered that it was a layered process of engaging the world and discovering meaning, while simultaneously being present in the moment, being spurred on by love in the positive meaning discovered. The result of this inquiry led me to describe the essence of my happiness through a formula that states, intentionality plus (a positive) meaning equals happiness (I+M = H). This theorem does not minimize the complex nature of happiness, but rather, provides a simple rubric when dealing with the complex paradoxes inherent with the phenomena of my happiness. In recognizing these paradoxes, I then explored the many ways that the Pauline notions of faith, hope, and love work to solve the classical barriers to experiencing happiness. This thesis concludes with some of my reflections upon ways this theorem may be applied to psychotherapy.