Amanda Schnibben is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Santa Barbara.


fairy-tales, intimacy, identity development, relationships, romance, women, myth, fairy tales, phenomenology

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Fairy-tales and myth have long been held as ways of communicating what is happening in society and within a culture. This dissertation study examined the interview narratives of 10 women regarding the impact of fairy-tales and myth on female identity in the context of intimate relationship patterns. This study utilized definitions of fairy-tale and myth derived from Biechonski's (2005) framework, while augmenting these conceptualizations with depth psychology perspectives. The study's findings were produced using qualitative, phenomenological research methods (Merriam, 2009). Results of the study demonstrated that some of the female participants identified with fairy-tales during their youth; however, all participants indicated that real life is far more challenging when contrasted with typical Western fairy-tale stories that often portray an easeful outcome to engagement in a romantic relationship. Common themes that emerged throughout this study were those of status, external factors such as appealing fashions and coiffed hair, familial upbringing and witnessing the parental relationship. Having experienced a loving attachment from one's parents emerged as a guiding theme, as did exposure to positive qualities displayed within the parental relationship itself. Such themes like respect between one's parents, communication, and commitment were also present in the narratives. In summary, eleven themes emerged from the interviews. The themes were Cinderella/Beauty and the Beast, Prince Charming, External Factors, Status, Familial Upbringing, Parents, Respect, Communication, Commitment, Connection, and Independence. Some possible implications for clinical work were discussed.