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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Rachelle Hackett

Second Committee Member

Thomas Nelson

Third Committee Member

Timothy McHargue


This study was designed with an interest for the healing of emotional distress shared by the disciplines of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. It sought to merge these disciplines into a coherent therapeutic context for human interaction that could be grounded in the shared human condition, the essential need for meaning, freedom, and relationship. This study also sought to examine the importance of spirituality across the lifespan to the practice of psychotherapy and particularly to explore the spiritual experiences of the adolescent male and discover the meaning and healing effects those experiences have for them, especially those who have experienced significant emotional or relationship difficulties in their lives. Using a phenomenological methodology for the qualitative data analysis, 10 interviews were conducted with young adult males who had participated in a unique spiritual retreat while in high school and during a particularly troubled time in their lives. An exhaustive document review took place. Two distinct phenomena emerged: Lost in Suffering, a state of life prior to the retreat and Found in Redemption: the results of a four day experience of bonding, healing, and transformation, each experience containing five distinct themes. The result is a deep understanding of the lived experience of the participants and a powerful implication regarding the place of spiritual experience in psychotherapeutic healing.





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