Transformative Phenomenology

Transformative Phenomenology and Us

A Bouquet of Reflections on the Impact of Transformative Phenomenology 

An eBooklet created by the students of 

Professors Valerie Malhotra Bentz, PhD & David Allan Rehorick, PhD

eBooklet Edited by Ayumi Nishii, PhD

Fielding Graduate University Alumni Network, 2018

During the process of writing a chapter titled, “The Silver Age of Phenomenology at Fielding Graduate University” in The Fielding 45th Anniversary Monograph, the authors of the chapter (James Marlatt, Ayumi Nishii, Carol Estrada, Barton Buechner, Valerie Bentz, and David Rehorick) invited Fielding phenomenologists to reflect on the impact of Transformative Phenomenology. This booklet is a compilation of these reflection statements. A collective story as the analysis of the reflections, the lived experiences of the impact, is included in the chapter.

The contributors of this booklet are: Adair Nagata, Ann Alexander, Ayumi Nishii, Bart Buechner, Carol Estrada, Carol Laberge, Daniel Maxwell, David Haddad, Evelyn Torton Beck, Frank Rojas, James Marlatt, Lee (Shirley) Knobel, Lori Schneider, Luann Drolc Fortune, Rosa Zubizarreta-Ada, Sergej van Middendorp, Tetyana Azarova, Theresa Southam, and Valerie Nishi. 

As phenomenologists we are always on a path of becoming, and so is this booklet. We invite you to join us with your reflection.  Please contact Ayumi Nishii at or James Marlatt at for submissions or questions.

TP and Us

Click to download the eBooklet in Word format.

What is Transformative Phenomenology?

Transformative Phenomenology is a somatic-hermeneutic-phenomenology that is put into action in the lifeworld. It is an application of phenomenology—the study of consciousness and phenomena— that can lead to personal, professional, organizational, and social transformations. Transformative Phenomenology is founded on the eidetic phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, the social phenomenology of Alfred Schütz, the embodied phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the ontologic-existential phenomenology of Martin Heidegger, and the reflective hermeneutic methods of Hans-Georg Gadamer.

Rehorick and Bentz (2017) identified ten qualities of phenomenological scholar-practitioners based on their analysis of 76 phenomenological and hermeneutic related dissertations completed at Fielding from 1996 to 2016. Writing rich descriptions of lived experience and collaboratively interpreting meaning is a foundational activity. Additional qualities include adopting phenomenology as a way of being and embracing embodied consciousness, wonderment and authenticity. Phenomenological scholar-practitioners are focused on looking beyond the taken for granted, with awareness that lifeworlds are constructed through patterns of communication. Transformative phenomenologists seek to transcend the reality of everyday lived-experience in service of generating common understanding.

The Ten Qualities of Transformative Phenomenologists

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What to Know More? Check Out These Books.

Former students of Valerie Bentz and David Rehorick contributed chapters to the edited volumes that outline the transformative impact of phenomenology on their research, practice and lives. These authors provide rich stories of the diverse practices that embody truthful communication to address practical concerns in the lifeworld from the diverse vantage of the executive coach, human development professionals, leadership specialists, company executives, directors of medical organizations, professional musicians, community social innovators, and more.

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Bentz, V., & Shapiro, J. (1998). Mindful inquiry in social research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Rehorick, D., & Bentz, V. (Eds.). (2008). Transformative phenomenology: Changing ourselves, lifeworlds, and professional practice. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Bentz, V., & Giorgino, V. (Eds.). (2016). Contemplative social research: Caring for self, being, and lifeworld. Santa Barbara,CA: Fielding University Press.

Rehorick, D., & Bentz, V. (Eds.). (2017). Expressions of phenomenological research: Consciousness and lifeworld studies (Vol. 10). Santa Barbara, CA: Fielding University Press.

© Ayumi Nishii & James Marlatt, 2018

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