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Women’s Experience of Psychological Homelessness and Identity Management: A Portfolio of Research and Therapeutic Practice

Fulder-Heyd, Y. (2010). Women’s Experience of Psychological Homelessness and Identity Management: A Portfolio of Research and Therapeutic Practice. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


This portfolio focuses on the complexities of women’s identity management when multiple identity components are being challenged. The empirical study is titled ‘Exploring psychological homelessness through the experience of Israeli women living in the UK’. This qualitative project explores a novel concept which has received almost no attention in the psychological literature. For this purpose, a population with a unique identity construction was chosen. A sense of detachment from both their country of origin and host country leaves these women with the experience of ‘homelessness’. In light of existing psychological literature on identity, immigration and the experience of women on the move, the research examines the personal meaning making processes and the implications for research and practice. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore several emergent themes which centre on intra-psychic, interpersonal and intergroup processes as well as the subjective understanding of ‘psychological homelessness’. In addition, attention was directed to the coping methods which were used in response to this experience. One of the key findings highlights how these women are caught in a vicious cycle whereby their attempts at coping with psychological homelessness lead to further lack of belonging, creating ambivalence and doubt. The professional component is titled: ‘Home is where the heart is? The process of therapy with two women encountering the challenge of redefining home’. It presents the therapeutic work with two immigrant women from very different backgrounds who were both faced with an ‘emptied’ home. Therapy focused on the ensuing deep doubts regarding their conceptions of home and self, and helped the women reach a more empowered and resilient place. The last section of the portfolio is titled ‘creating presence from absence: a critical review of the literature on the identity management of childless women’. The examination of the research on the subject emphasises the importance of diversity in the ways in which women manage this stigmatised identity.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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