DATE: Tuesday, December 18, 2012
TIME: 9:30 a.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Cecile Phillips Lyons
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Shadow Of Money"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-O; 2007
CHAIR: Dr. Paul Gabrinetti
READER: Dr. Sharleen O'Brien
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Dennis Jaffe
Lyons, C. (2012). Shadow Of Money (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)
This grounded theory study investigated the subjective experience of money as reported in the personal and professional lives of 11 psychologists and recorded in verbatim references to money made by 72 patients during therapeutic sessions. The core phenomenon in a person’s relationship with money was identified as anxiety. An outline of the phenomenon emerged detailing manifestation, intervening conditions, coping strategies, and sources of aggravating emotional or cognitive dissonance. Five manifestations were described: affective tone related to money established in childhood; generally anxious temperament becoming attached to financial issues; circumstantial stress caused by pragmatic money problems; fear of money’s perceived malevolence; and lastly, anxiety resulting from cognitive or emotional dissonance in relationship with money. Cognitive and emotional dissonance was characterized by either belief of insufficiency or conflict between desires and ambitions with ideals and aspirations. Identified coping strategies included avoidance, intensification of characteristic attitudes and behaviors, global stress reduction measures, and regenerative engagement with the anxiety. Recognition of opportunities presented in regenerative engagement with money anxiety was significant. Benefits were not limited to diminished stress, but also included resolving dissonance, increasing sufficiency and accommodating seemingly conflicted values.
Findings related to the symbolism of money were also significant. In addition to corroborative evidence for the four commonly assumed symbolic meanings of freedom, love, power, and security, three others were identified as operational. They were honor, competency, and transformation. All seven were understood from positive and negative perspectives. Wealth, understood as honor, connoted providence and stewardship; or, to the contrary, absence of money suggested dishonor evidenced by victimhood and license to ignore financial responsibility. Competency related to general perception of self worth or lack thereof, as well as ability or inability in money management. Transformation was the most significant addition to symbolic values attributed to money. In its dysfunctional manifestation it appeared as either wishful thinking characterized by the belief that money would solve any problem or fearful thinking evidenced by belief that money is sinister and corrupting. With regenerative engagement, transformation in its most adaptive and was incorporative as well as enlivening.
Keywords: money, anxiety, dissonance, mature narcissism, tension of opposites, symbol.Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.