Embodiment of the Spirit: A Case Study
Author/s: Jan Grimell
Year: 2017 Vol: 2 Number: 1
Adopting a longitudinal approach to exploring the psychology of the transition from military to civilian life, one case study is presented that adds a spiritual perspective to the transition process. This case study serves as an example representative from a group of participants who have been followed through a research project on identity reconstruction during the transition to civilian life. This individual, not unlike many others within the group, undergoes an unexpected progression of the military I-position of the self throughout the process of becoming a civilian. This study utilizes a dialogical approach to the identity work to further the understanding of longitudinal adjustments to the self. An analysis of the narrative developments and interactions among pre-existing and new I-positions of the self over time has been made based upon three annually conducted interviews spanning from 2014 to 2016. The results lead to the suggestion that if a military I-position of the self grows more salient and voiced throughout the process of transitioning into civilian life, then this vocalization may be related to the spirit of a person embodied in a specific I-position of the self. Such growth of a military I-position after leaving active service may gravitate around a deep sense of “who I am” with a profound sense of meaning attached to this position. Instead of perceiving as an unwanted development the growth of a military sense of “who I am,” one should acknowledge it as a deeper dimension of self and life. It is important to find an outlet for such a progression of the self so as to sustain balance and dialogue. Future research is encouraged to further examine these qualitative findings.