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New Therian Study (Results!)
Baumarius
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Post: #1
New Therian Study (Results!)
The result of FurScience's interviews and focus groups with therians at Anthrocon since 2016 is finally out. Tens, possibly hundreds of therians were interviewed one-on-one in close to hour-long sessions, their responses recorded, transcribed, and later analyzed anonymously. The study was published in The Humanistic Psychologist and is 20 pages long, detailing the experiences of therians and otherkin, along with associated analyses and a suggested re-terming of what we call "mental shifts," at least in the context of psychology. The abstract & impact statement reads:

"How do we use the world around us to become oriented, when what we perceive situates our experience as otherness? This article explores the intersubjective and embodied experiences of therians and otherkin: those who identify as beings other than solely human, such as an animal or a mythological creature. Through an application of phenomenologist Sara Ahmed’s concepts of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation, along with psychoanalytic theories of the mirror stage from Lacan and Winnicott, this article develops an understanding of therianthropy and otherkinship that accounts for the contextual and contested nature of the lived body. The article argues for a stance of cultural humility when engaging with forms of embodiment and subjectivity that challenge ontological boundary-setting between what lies within and beyond the domain of the human.

With increased intolerance and violence against other and toward anything deemed different within our societies, our calling as psychologists is to attempt to transform the world into one that is livable for all. By providing in-depth descriptions about the lived experience of therians and otherkin, we hope to foster understanding. By bracketing the natural attitude toward therianthropy and otherkinship, we also hope to destigmatize and depathologize their experiences while providing suggestions about affirmative clinical practice."


While most therians will already be familiar with the what this study will reveal, I'd consider this the closest thing to a "therapist's guide" to therianthropy/otherkin that currently exists. It's accessible for $20 through the APA website linked above. For those who would not like to pay for it, I will summarize below:
  • The study analyzes the experiences of many therians and otherkin and seeks to "destigmatize and depathologize" our experiences. They provide well-structured examples of what we experience, as well as its psychosocial connotations starting from early childhood and into adult life.
  • They define a therian as "an individual who believes that they are not human—or at least not completely human. Instead, they identify as a species of non-human animal that either currently exists or has existed and is now extinct," and an otherkin as a person identifying "as a nonhuman being that is typically considered mythical or fantasy-based (e.g., fairy, elf, unicorn)."
  • They apply Sara Ahmed's work on the ideas of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation to alterhumanity. They dive into our preference for natural environments over manmade ones, our disconnect from other humans and our own bodies, species dysphoria (which they describe but do not explicitly name), and reorientation by means of our own personal image, shifting, seeking out community, and "ontological doubling" - "living [a] human life with its human demands, alongside a pervasive feeling of being out of place."
  • They suggest the "re-terming" of what we call "mental shifts" and "phantom shifts" and the like as embodied shifts instead (specifically in reference to a previous paper), seeing as they involve more than just a shift in consciousness and can include physical sensations (such as phantom limbs) and can occur in response to the environment, by one's own volition, or spontaneously. While some may be against outside individuals coining terms for us, these are professional psychologists and this likely has more to do with their own understanding of us than anything.

The conclusion to the paper encourages professionals (therapists and such) to understand us through a lens of cultural humility and provides some hope in that "(perhaps ironically) humanistic psychotherapy..." can provide therians and otherkin some sense of wellbeing.

Overall, this is really good for us. If you are in therapy, do consider forwarding this study to your therapist.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-17 23:21 by Baumarius.)
2024-03-17 19:46
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Post: #2
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)
I'm glad to see things moving forward in this department.

By the way, it might be a good idea to check if we are allowed to post these quotes to places such as TG. Sometimes paid articles have limitations in this regard.

LP,
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2024-03-17 20:59
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Baumarius
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Post: #3
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)

(2024-03-17 20:59)DustWolf Wrote:  I'm glad to see things moving forward in this department.

By the way, it might be a good idea to check if we are allowed to post these quotes to places such as TG. Sometimes paid articles have limitations in this regard.

LP,
Dusty


That is a fair point. I redacted the larger bits. According to the APA, no permission is required if the excerpt totals under 400 words.

(This post was last modified: 2024-03-18 13:49 by Baumarius.)
2024-03-17 23:22
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Post: #4
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)
The article and pdf is free only the physical book is sold. I actually had the oppoortunity to participate in these focus groups it was an interesting expirence.
2024-03-20 6:28
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Post: #5
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)

(2024-03-20 6:28)Siris Wrote:  The article and pdf is free only the physical book is sold. I actually had the oppoortunity to participate in these focus groups it was an interesting expirence.


The PDF isn’t free..? How do you access it freely?


,,Keep your mind on ice and your heart on fire.’’
2024-03-20 14:46
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Siris
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Post: #6
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)

(2024-03-20 14:46)Shipaxe Wrote:  

(2024-03-20 6:28)Siris Wrote:  The article and pdf is free only the physical book is sold. I actually had the oppoortunity to participate in these focus groups it was an interesting expirence.


The PDF isn’t free..? How do you access it freely?


https://furscience.com/publications/
Very top of the page. The portion you are reading from is towards the end of the study book. I was actually speaking with them directly about it at TFF this past weekend even. You only have to pay if you buy the physical book and they did that intentionally because they view it as giving back to the community that gave to the study.

2024-03-20 16:45
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Post: #7
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)

(2024-03-20 16:45)Siris Wrote:  

(2024-03-20 14:46)Shipaxe Wrote:  

(2024-03-20 6:28)Siris Wrote:  The article and pdf is free only the physical book is sold. I actually had the oppoortunity to participate in these focus groups it was an interesting expirence.


The PDF isn’t free..? How do you access it freely?


https://furscience.com/publications/
Very top of the page. The portion you are reading from is towards the end of the study book. I was actually speaking with them directly about it at TFF this past weekend even. You only have to pay if you buy the physical book and they did that intentionally because they view it as giving back to the community that gave to the study.


Thank you!


,,Keep your mind on ice and your heart on fire.’’
2024-03-20 23:02
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Ashoka
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Post: #8
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)
Looking forward to seeing the report when I have a chance! May read it tomorrow since I am probably still gonna be at home sick.

2024-03-20 23:46
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Post: #9
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)
It's a different publication. From the summary in the OP, what the authors call ontological doubling is a phenomenon I've attributed to structural dissociation of the personality. In theory structural dissociation is a result of trauma, but clearly there is more to it than that. I feel that the ontological doubling is the main cause of the feelings of otherness and dysphoria. Spiritually I even liken it to the sorrow of being separated from the divine expressed in some belief systems.

From my personal feelings and beliefs about therianthropy, I like the idea re-terming shifts as "embodiment shifts." The reason is because in my experience shifts have been so varied, but usually not fitting in the constellation called therianthropy. It's subjective and mostly non-verbal so sometimes fewer labels is better. The "soul" is embodied with various kinds of shifts, ie. interfacing with the body/brain. Is this an outsider's perspective?

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2024-03-21 1:02
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Ashoka
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Post: #10
RE: New Therian Study (Results!)
The publication on the furscience site is free. It's at the top and if you click the book image is free to download on the site that comes up. The section specifically on therianthropy is in chapter 20. Hopefully that helps.

The link in the original post on here only goes to an abstract for the journal article, which means you need a subscription (through a college database or some other means) to the journal or to pay for the article to access the full thing.

The pdf for the book is free to download though.

2024-03-21 14:36
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