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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

M. Biaggio

Second Advisor

J. R. Antick

Third Advisor

M. Hersen


This phenomenological study examines the psychospiritual aspects of identity transformation in mothers recovering from co-occurring disorders of chemical dependency and mental illness. Six Caucasian women, ages 23 to 43, receiving residential treatment and in early full remission were interviewed. Five of the co-participants have parental responsibility for at least one child and the sixth was pregnant with her first child. Three interrelated domains are discussed: (a) dual-diagnoses recovery, (b) mothering, and (c) spirituality. An understanding of themes emerging from the data suggests each domain has a major defining characteristic: (a) understanding and accepting one's dual diagnoses, (b) creating a new life through self discovery and change, and (c) transforming spiritually from addict to spiritual pilgrim. A self-in-relationship model describes and unifies these themes.