THESIS DEFENCE: Sharon Macfarlane, “Integrating Ego Identity in An Adult Third Culture Kid with Lifespan Integration Therapy: A Reflexive Hermeneutic Single Case Efficacy Design”
Supervisor: Dr. Janelle Kwee, CPSY
Second Reader: Dr. Marvin McDonald, CPSY
External Examiner: Dr. Jose Domene,
Exam Chair: Dr. Angela Wolff, MSN
Research findings support the presence of psycho-social challenges for third culture kids (TCKs) given their lifestyle of high mobility and the acculturative stress of repatriation. I structured this study as a self-experimentation hermeneutic single-case efficacy design (auto-HSCED). Through HSCED I investigated the efficacy of lifespan integration (LI) therapy in addressing issues with self-structure and autobiographical narrative fragmentation. I proposed the use of an Eriksonian-based ego identity fragmentation model as an explanatory framework for conceptualizing these long-term self-identity issues among TCKs. Acting as both the study participant and primary investigator, I sought to answer: Can LI be efficacious in addressing ego identity fragmentation in an adult TCK? Initial outcomes did not meet HSCED standards for significant client change due to LI therapy, however, I noted significant discrepancies in the results which led to a secondary examination of the findings. My investigation revealed evidence of oppressive data interpretation and analysis processes that I corrected through a metasynthetic remediation process. This re-contextualization of the initial findings allowed me to re-interpret them within a broader intersectional framework. I concluded by arguing for outcomes having met HSCED’s threshold for significance and for demonstrating clear and compelling evidence of LI efficacy in producing client ego identity change. Finally, I offered a unique perspective on the therapeutic process through the inclusion of enhanced reflexivity processes in which I invite the reader into my personal therapeutic and academic journey of ego identity integration.