Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler

Second Advisor

Stasia Johnson Steinhagen

Third Advisor

Janet Dahlem


Holistic Health Studies


Women experience depression at twice the rate of men. Researchers have focused on biomedical and psychosocial factors in their extensive exploration into the causes and treatments of women’s depression. When viewed from a holistic lens of mind, body, and spirit, the spiritual experience of depression is missing in the literature. The purpose of this research study is to describe how a woman's spiritual self transforms through depression. Organic Inquiry incorporates transpersonal psychology and feminist spirituality and was used in this study to collect and analyze the stories of 12 women through unstructured interviews. Results suggest the women's spiritual transformation involved five themes: letting go, change in belief system, finding power within, bringing the pieces back together, and connection to all. For these women, depression was the catalyst for awakening consciousness. Integrating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) in recovery from depression has implications for how society views, supports, and celebrates women’s depression as a transformative experience.