Phenomenology of the Holy Spirit: using Narratives as a Holistic Interpreter of Trauma Within African American Female Stories Open Access

Smith, Brenda (2016)

Permanent URL:


What ails you? Implicit within the core axiom of the dissertation lies the deepened question of what ails you? The answer drawn from a trajectory of historical accounts of the Holy Spirit conflated against trauma as both systemic and individual acts, characterizes the ways in which the human soul, regardless of race, ethnicity, time or circumstance, perceive egregious acts of violence at the intersection of the holy. From a brief perusal of the Holy Spirit within the human experience, I argue the human soul disconcerted by the chaotic and unbalanced impulse of trauma responds similarly to the presence of God in the midst of trouble. Thus, the whole note is not based solely on the assault that has occurred or its residual effect of injustice though I categorically referenced these as causes to work towards eradicating forces which may seek to perpetuate evil and suffering upon innocent souls, the focus is rather on the ephemeral power of God to restore and to heal. In this regard, I challenge both physiological and psychological methods as sole proprietary agents of trauma treatment to seriously consider the evidence of God/The Holy Spirit as a crucial; irreducible source of recovery. Moreover, I believe by instituting the holy in the human narrative, a more viable means for broadening the scope of trauma care may occur. Further, I advance the etiological life group of African Americans whose healing scripts about trauma and injustice lends itself more toward the embedded narrative within contemporary stories that count wisdom despite injustice as inscrutable teaching models on how to withstand suffering in the confluence of peace. Herein, I advance critical analysis of the African American slave narrative alongside current traumatic recordings to be potent reiterations of what constitutes authentic healing in modern-day America's increasingly pluralistic populace . The study, characterized as hermeneutic phenomenological methodology, is based on a qualitative-inductive model experientially designed to detect movement of the Holy Spirit while drawing an aesthetic link between slave narratives and the way trauma is recounted in the human experience. The study began fall, 2011 through May 2014.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 10

List of Tables. ix

Dorothee Soelle--Suffering Chart. 227-228

Judith Herman--Stages of Recovery Chart. 270-271

List of Illustrations. vii

DSM IV-Case Assessment-MK. 237

MK Genogram. 207

DSM IV-Case Assessment-AJ. 258

Chapter I. Storytelling: A Reflection of Life .39

Chapter II. Historical Referencing of the Holy Spirit in the Christian Church. 68

Cosmology of the Holy Spirit. 79

Theological Anthropological meaning of the Holy Spirit. 84

Chapter III. The Nature of Trauma--Historical Therapeutic Practice. 91

The Development of Trauma Theory. 100

Trauma Literature and Practice. 110

Chapter IV. Slavery: An Aesthetic Narrative. 124

Chapter V. Examining stories of two African American Women. 148

Embedded Stories. 149

An Ethnographic Storyline. 159

Evidence of the Holy Spirit in Traumatized African American Female Narratives. 167

Chapter VI. Generational Narratives about Trauma. 180

The Women's Stories. 192

Image: Genogram. 207

Dorothee Soelle-Phases of Suffering. 227-228

Chapter VII. Comparative Analysis of Experiential Methods. 228

David Tracy, Heinz Kohut and Judith Herman. 231, 253, 265

African American Female Trauma Narratives

(a) Chart- Judith Herman' Stages of Recovery. 272-273

Chapter VIII. Trauma: Critique of Current Practice Methods. 281

e.g. Pastoral Counseling, 1st and 2nd Wave Womanist Theory

Findings/Conclusion: …What Ails You?. 315

Smith- New Hermeneutic. 317

Bibliography. 330

Appendices. 335, 336, 338, 340, 345, 346, 348, 351

Consent Forms. 335

Definition of Terms. 336-337

List Of Permissions. 354

Name Key. 348-350

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files