Single and childless women over the age of 35 constitute an expanding demographic in North America and in many parts of the world, yet we are still living in a society that places great importance on marriage and family and views them as important markers of life success. This research was designed to explore how involuntarily single (never-married) and childless women experience themselves during early midlife (ages 35-45). Eight women’s experiences were explored in this study using the feminist relational methodology of the Listening Guide. Data analysis uncovered three categories of voices: voices which conveyed the positivity of living a single and childless identity (i.e. the voices of hope, faith, gratitude, nurturance, freedom, and resilience), voices which conveyed the struggles of living a single and childless identity (i.e. the voices of invisibility, shame, confusion, loneliness, guilt, longing, and uncertain waiting), and the voice of ambivalence.
Katelyn A. Fister (author), Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor), Richard Bradshaw (second reader), Lara Ragpot (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
In this study, the Listening Guide (Brown & Gilligan, 1992) was used to explore the therapeutic application of metaphor in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder (DID) from the perspective of both client and therapist. Through analysis of the interviews, eight voices were identified. These voices are organized into two overarching categories: 1) voices of trauma and dissociation, and 2) voices of healing and integration. Relationships were observed among the various voices of dissociation, as well as between the voices of dissociation and those of trauma and healing. These relationships reveal natural links between clients’ metaphors of trauma, dissociation, and healing. The clients’ core metaphors of dissociation – Hope’s beehive metaphor and ‘Reace’s mansion metaphor – illustrate the complex relationships that exist among these metaphorical constructs. The metaphors represented the individuals’ subjective experiences of DID and were used as the main organizers of the healing process across all three phases of treatment.
Sharon M Macfarlane (author), Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor), Marvin McDonald (second reader), Jose Domene (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
Research findings support the presence of psycho-social challenges for third culture kids (TCKs) given their characteristic lifestyle. Structured as a self-experimentation Hermeneutic Single-Case Efficacy Design (auto-HSCED), I investigated the use of Lifespan Integration (LI) therapy in addressing ego identity fragmentation as conceptualized through an Eriksonian and neo-Eriksonian model. This project sought to answer: Can LI be efficacious in addressing ego identity fragmentation in an adult TCK? Initial outcomes did not meet HSCED standards for significance, however, further investigation revealed evidence of decontextualization and reductionist therapy formulations and analysis processes. These were remediated through intersectional analysis with the use of metasynthetic principles which enabled a re-interpretation of results within a broader intersectional framework. The subsequent proposed refinement of study conclusions argued that outcomes met the threshold for significance and for demonstrating LI efficacy in producing client ego identity change. This project also provided a first-hand account of my therapeutic journey.
Krista Socholotiuk (thesis supervisor), Darcie R. Brown (author), Janelle Kwee (second reader), Megan Foley Nicpon (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
Twice-exceptional children are gifted and have at least one area of disability. This combination presents unique parenting challenges that are important to understand given the central role that parents play in the success of their twice-exceptional children. Self-compassion is treating oneself with understanding and acceptance when faced with imperfections; it has been shown to be a powerful source of coping and resilience for a wide range of populations. This constructivist study used the listening guide—a qualitative, relational, voice-centred method (Gilligan, 2015) where 7 self-compassionate parents of twice-exceptional children were interviewed about their understandings of self-compassion in parenting. Data analysis revealed three groupings of voices: Presence and Wise voices were the voices of self-compassion, and Demand voices emerged as a dissonant, non-self-compassionate counterpoint. The four themes that emerged revealed parents used self-compassion to weather challenges, to remain mindful despite difficulties, to engage wiser problem-solving, and to nurture important relationships.
Jerlyn J. Chan (author), Marvin McDonald (second reader), Robert Lees (second reader), Christine Slavik (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
This thesis project explored educators’ views of a mindfulness program that was delivered to elementary school students by high school students. This youth-led approach to delivering mental health literacy was evaluated as part of a pilot project that intended to connect both older and younger students and pass down mindfulness education. The method, the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique, was selected and involved conducting in-person interviews with each of the participants. The participants consisted of six educators, who offered diverse perspectives by their first-hand knowledge and experience of the program or familiarity with the program’s development. Participants included the elementary school and high school teachers, the elementary school principal and community agency staff. The findings of this study showed a consensus whereby educators viewed the program favourably and believed it to be valuable to their students and their larger community. The youth-led approach was shown to demonstrate the youth’s capacity to act as positive role models and lead the mindfulness training. The feasibility of the program was supported with reference to key partnerships and its possible application to additional community settings. An enthusiasm and keen interest to continue and expand the program were also captured in the results. The educators’ views of this program, the Youth-led Mindfulness Program (YLMP), were investigated to answer the following research question: What are educators’ views about what helps and hinders school-based mental health literacy programs that are delivered by youth as mindfulness trainers?
Neeta Sai (author), Dr. Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor), Dr. Mihaela Launeanu (second reader), Dr. Keren Epstein-Gilboa (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
Women’s experiences of childbirth are understood primarily in terms of role change and physical or cognitive impacts. This study adopted a holistic, embodied perspective to explore how women’s childbirth experiences shape their embodied sense of self. Six women’s childbirth experiences were analysed using Gilligan’s (1982) Listening Guide method, adapted by integrating Längle’s (1993) Existential Analysis framework of the Four Fundamental Motivations. The analysis uncovered women’s voices of fulfillment and suffering as dynamic interplay suggesting that positive birth experience led to positive embodied sense of self while negative birth experience (e.g., disrupted embodiment) led to negative sense of self. These findings indicate that childbirth and motherhood can empower women to grow and be strong even in spite of possible traumatic or negative birth experience. This study has important implications for promoting a holistic understanding of the role of women’s subjective experiences of childbirth in shaping their embodied sense of self.
Jillian Hart (author), Marvin McDonald (thesis supervisor), Joanne Stephen (second reader), David Reid (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
The present study explored the wider relational context of partners of women facing cancer. Seven male partners of breast cancer patients shared their experience of being a partner to a woman going through cancer. Dialogal phenomenology allowed for clarification of the landscape of these partners' experience by providing opportunity to formulate their experience and to unfold meanings attributed to this experience. Seven themes were identified: crisis and aftermath; children, parenting, and fertility; personal impact; breast cancer as a shared experience; honouring voices and voice; relational choreography; and relational outlook. These men shared different ways that being a partner of a woman with cancer is a shared experience. One pattern that emerged describes how a "you and me" couple identity framework can shift into a "we" perspective. These results revealed how couple identity emerged in relational patterns of engagement during conversational interviewing, a distinctive feature that fits well with previous findings.
The connections and tensions between siblings may impact the development and well-being that children with ASD and their typically developing (TD) siblings experience. Parenting style and parental stress are two factors that impact a caregiver's ability to effectively foster positive relationships. Finally, the interplay between sibling relationships, caregiver characteristics, sibling involvement in intervention, and success in ASD intervention is of interest. Primary caregivers (N = 108) completed an online questionnaire and a hierarchical multiple regression was conducted. Results indicated: 1) Parenting stress explains 12% of the variance found in the warmth and closeness of sibling relationships; 2) Sibling involvement and success in ASD intervention cumulatively contributes to 13.5% of the variance found in the warmth and closeness of sibling relationships; and 3) warmth and closeness uniquely explains 7% of the variance of success in ASD intervention. Limitations, practical implications, and future research direction will be discussed.
Fred Chou (author), Janelle Kwee (thesis supervisor), Robert Lees (thesis supervisor), Marla Buchanan (external examiner), Trinity Western University SGS (Degree granting institution)
This Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) study collaborated with six students from alternate education to inquire about the experiences of vulnerable youth--students who have disengaged from mainstream education. Utilizing the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique, youth researchers asked their peers: what helped and hindered their retention and success in mainstream and alternate education? Youth researchers engaged in authentic participation and took part in the iterative phases of YPAR--critical reflection and social action. Their involvement empowered them to advocate for their peers by disseminating the results and recommendations to key stakeholders within the community. Youth researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 participants. Overall, the findings show that relationships with staff and peers, flexibility, psychosocial and academic supports, and personal circumstances are vital in helping vulnerable students succeed in school. Engagement in YPAR provided insight on how to work with vulnerable youth in a manner that promotes agency and social change.