Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Arthur Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mariaelena Bartesaghi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Ellis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Heather Sellers, Ph.D.


autoethnography, Cuban-American immigrant, narrative inquiry, narrative therapy, shamanic journey, transgenerational transmission


The aim of this dissertation is to develop and illustrate a spiritually centered narrative method for transforming disorder into agency and action. I use my own position as a second-generation Hispanic female immigrant to show how training in a spiritual practice that mirrors my ancestral traditions helped me productively move through a sense of displacement, illness, and lack of purpose. My research includes travel to Havana, Cuba, and immersion in a five-week shamanic counseling training program in Tampa, Florida, during which I learned how to narrate my experiences as I engaged in shamanic journeying. As I reflect on these experiences, I explore three questions: How can second-generation immigrants 1) overcome family histories of displacement to create a sense of home? 2) engage in self-care practices that promote healing and nourishing relationships? and 3) create healthy identities and a sense of purpose within their communities? Through the process of writing my own story, I move from individual pathology toward communal creativity and tap into the burgeoning activist movement of bruja feminism.

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