Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Adult learning; Healers--Training of


This dissertation explores the concept of transformation as it relates to particular and profound learning experiences occurring in adulthood. The central guiding theme of the study explores ways in which adults make meaning from these learning experiences. More specifically, the interpretive focus of the dissertation draws from an autobiographical account of the author's personal transformation, along with personal reflections of five participants' transformations occurring as a result of the learning and practice of energetic medicine, namely, the technique of Therapeutic Touch. An autobiographical influence guided the presentation and interpretation of the author's data. A phenomenological influence was used to gather rich and full accounts of the participants' lived experiences. This study presents the author's Native American ancestry as a contextual influence that suggests both a way of learning and a gravitation toward particular kinds of healing experiences. The dissertation further draws from traditional and nontraditional information on adult learning that provides a background for suggested ways of learning and knowing energetic medicine. One nontraditional way of knowing that was introduced in the study was the notion of knowledge that is passed on through genes or DNA from ancestors. Additionally, the study explores the value of a relationship with a mentor by presenting the author's experience learning and practicing Therapeutic Touch with Dora Kunz, cocreator of Therapeutic Touch. A link is created from this type of mentorship to that experienced by graduate students. The research findings suggest that the learning and practice of Therapeutic Touch might have the potential for personal transformative changes through the way in which it can change a person's worldview. One underlying principle of Therapeutic Touch, that of frequently and intentionally maintaining the mindset of conscious compassion, was noted as figuring significantly in the transformative changes of the Therapeutic Touch practitioner. The findings further suggest that the use of Therapeutic Touch and its underlying principles might provide a healing modality that could help society by easing the suffering of those who are ill, anxious, fearful, and unable to cope with life's more difficult challenges.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [190]-203).


x, 213 pages




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