School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Gilbert Franco


personality, psychopathology, Jung, psychopharmacology, mental illness, psychiatry


Counseling | Psychology


Psychopathology has been associated to personality in trait characteristics as a contributing factor to mental illness, but the degree to which personality development as an influence in mental pathologies remains under researched at a phenomenological level. Thus, leaving a significant gap in psychopathological clinical literature on the functional role personality development is associated with psychopathology. In the modern era, the medical symptomology model of mental illness set by the DSM serves as the justification for psychotropic medication prescription as well as the diagnostic criteria for mental pathology but, there is limitations to functional ideals of mental health based off diagnostic criteria for illness and its treatment. However, theories of personality development outside of trait characteristics such as individuation could expand understandings of root causes in mental illness that could reveal new information on how psychopathology forms within the personality and could lead to holistic treatments to mental health and mitigate long term medication use. The aim of this study was to understand the phenomenological experiences of individuation and perceptions of the self in participants who are diagnosed with a mental illness. There was a total of 7 participants in this study and were all diagnosed with a mental illness. The study used a semi-structured interview to assess phenomenological experiences of participants perception of the self and their individuation. Results of the study revealed that all but one participant was on psychotropic medications, all but one participant understood their ideal self as not being mentally ill, and all viewed receiving their diagnosis as beneficial to their sense of identity.