Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Schircliffe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ph.D.


Complexity Theory, Couples, Hermetic Tradition, Psychic, Spiritual, Twin Souls


To help contemporary couples successfully navigate the 21st Century’s individualistic, diverse, multicultural, global, postmodern relationship environment, individual, couple, and family counselors, marriage therapists, couple therapists, family psychologists, relationship coaches, marriage educators, counselor educators, and other helping professionals need to understand and promote the positive, strengths-based, holistic, and wellbeing development of couple relationships to help them succeed and flourish in the long- term.

This qualitative, narrative, visual autoethnography explores the researcher’s own experience of the culture of her 27-year long soul mate relationship with her partner through the lens of Positive and Holistic Couple Relationship Development Theory (PHRDT), its 7- phase Soul Mates Model, including encounter and dating, commitment, intimacy, building a life, shadow and adversity, renewal, and completion, resulting in the metaphorical development of the philosopher’s stone or gold of the philosophers, and its 12 positive relationship development principles. The study also explores the meanings derived from 8 alchemical pictograms associated with the Soul Mates Model’s 7 phases, which of the 12 positive principles played out in her relationship, and the effectiveness of her and her partner’s deliberate efforts at positive relationship building, as well as how these experiences may inform her teaching and practice.

Based on the findings, which include the recall of fourteen years of spiritual, psychic, and visionary encounters with her partner before they met, the researcher concludes that she and her partner are not only soul mates engaged in the soul mating process, but also twin souls, linked together by an unfathomable bond that has helped them develop intimacy, remain bonded through adversity, and flourish as a couple in the long-term. Additionally, the researcher concludes that the Soul Mates Model and 8 alchemical pictograms are useful mythopoeic tools to explore the positive and holistic development of the couple relationship, that all 12 positive principles played out in her relationship, and that the process of soul mating may be taught to others with help of strategic positive, holistic, and mythopoeic interventions, yet that twin- soulship cannot be taught. She thus concludes that soul mates can be grown, yet twin souls must be born.