The Spiral Self (1992)

The processes of developmental transformation — as described by the leading writers in transpersonal, developmental, and archetypal psychology — can be synthesized into a single model — symbolized as a “spiral” self: Human development follows a cyclical pattern of loss, transformation, and renewal.

In this paper, this model is proposed and described, and long-time hospice volunteers are interviewed to see if their experiences of loss, transformation, and renewal parallel this model and whether or not their attitudes toward loss, transformation, and renewal have changed during their years in hospice work. A phenomenological perspective was used in the research and in-depth unstructured interviews were conducted.

This paper is intended to benefit those who seek a wider context for human development. It also provides a theoretical model for understanding why volunteers in the hospice movement — by countering a prevailing societal fear of death — choose to renew their commitment, repeatedly, to clients, fully aware that they will eventually suffer the ultimate loss when their clients die.

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