Recovering Our 'Selves,' Reclaiming Our Parts: Toward a New Pastoral Psychology of Multiplicity for African American Women Open Access

Jones, Christina Annette (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/qj72p766t?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract

Recovering Our ‘Selves,' Reclaiming Our Parts: Toward a New Pastoral Psychology of Multiplicity for African American Women

By: Christina A. Jones

African American women who seek psychological wellness encounter significant challenges. To begin, some African American women have adopted oppressive understandings of what psychological health is and feels like. Specifically, those who have adopted notions of mental health that require that they seek to feel like one essential, monolithic self at all times, in all settings, and in every situation. The problem is that the sociopolitical landscapes that African American women traverse do not lend themselves to this sort of experience. Attempting to be a monolithic self at all times and the presence of socially constructed conflated images of African American women, also known as stereotypes, complicate matters further for African American women. My research found that many women consciously or unconsciously split or disavow important parts of themselves in efforts to not be associated with prevailing African American women stereotypes. However, these same parts may be the very aspects of African American women's selves that aid in their successful navigation of the structures and systems among which they exist and, as such, are a primary resources of strength, creativity, and prowess necessary for surviving and thriving in their surroundings. Therefore, this research determines multiplicity as a more appropriate and liberating pastoral psychological conceptual framework for understanding African American women's psychology. This study both displays how African American women's experiences align with concepts of multiplicity and deems multiplicity as a useful aid in African American women's resistance to the oppressive features of prevailing African American women stereotypes.

Table of Contents



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction: "A Fabulous Fiction": The Problem of African American Women's
Personalities………………………………………………………………………….........….............….1
Interrogating Notions of "Shifting". ……………………………………….....................……4
Beyond Shifting.. ……………………………………………………………………......................….7
Key Terminology. ……………………………………………………………………...…...................8
Dissertation Overview. …………………………………………………………........…..........…..10

Chapter 1: The Social, Cultural, and Historical Context of African American Women
'Selves'…..……………………………………………………………………………..........................12
Stereotypes: Classical, Philosophical, and Psychological Understandings…..... 13
A History of Being 'Othered': The Legacy of Saartjie Baartman……………..…......17
Stereotypes: Black Feminist Perspectives. …………………………………………..….......18

Chapter 2: Theoretical Overview: Psychological Theory, Therapeutic Approach,

and Theological Framework .……………………………………………………….............…....26
African America Women and Multiplicity……………………………………….............…...27
Relational Psychoanalysis and Multiplicity……………………………………..................32
Black Psychological Theory..…………………………………………………………................…37
Narrative Therapy……………………………………………………………………….....................41
Womanist Theology .…………….…………………………………………………….............….....47

Chapter 3: Research Methodology………………………………………………............……...55
Philosophical Orientation……………………………………………………………............…......55
Research Philosophy…………………………………………………………………............….......56
Research Method.. …………………………………………………………………............…….......57
Quantitative Research.... ………………………………...……………………..............………..58
Qualitative Research. ………………………………………………………………............…....….62

Chapter 4: Analysis, Findings, and Method Evaluation
Quantitative Analysis...………………………………………...……………..…..........………....67
Quantatative Findings: Demographics….………………………………............……….…..68
Questionnaire Findings: Likert Scale……………………………………............……...…….74
Qualitative Analysis………………………………………………………………............…...….....77
Questionnaire Findings: Short Answer Questions…………………............……..…….79
Questionnaire Findings: Brief Essay Questions………………………............……………82
Interviewee Response Outline…………………………………………………............………....89
Limitations of this Study.. ………………………………………………………...........…........110

Chapter 5: Interpretations and Discussion
Discussion: Questionnaire Likert Scale...………………………………...............………..117
Discussion: Likert Scale Findings. ……………………………………............………..……...119
Discussion: Questionnaire Brief Essay Questions.……………............……….……....124
Discussion: Interviews…………………………………………………………................….……...137
Summary………………………………………………………………………………..........................148

Chapter 6: Towards a New Pastoral Psychology of Multiplicity for African American

Women……………………………………………………………….........……………….................…..150

Multiplicity: An Appropriate Psychological Framework for African American

Women ……...............…………………………………………………………………………………..…....151

Multiplicity: A Tool of Liberation for Dismantling African American Women

Stereotypes ……………………………………………………………………………..........................152

A Pastoral Psychology of Multiplicity for African American Women……………….....155

Therapeutic Praxis: Recovering our ‘Selves,' Reclaiming our Parts………………..….157

Pastoral Praxis: Small Groups on Multiplicity………………………………………...........…160

Challenging the Field of Pastoral Care, Pastoral Counseling, and Pastoral

Theology…............................................................................................162

Concluding Thoughts…………………………………………………………………........................163

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