I am in a class this semester that is all about learning coherence therapy. Wow. I am not the kind of person who is sold on words like “gold standard” when it comes to therapy. As a matter of fact when people have to use superlatives to describe their deal when contrasting it with someone else’s, I get very squeamish very quickly.
I have been looking for a treatment modality that is scientifically grounded, constructivist congruent, phenomenology sound, and humanistically concerned. Basically, I have been looking for all of the things that make up who I am as a therapist. Now, I think I finally have it. Also, let me be the first to admit it, I am awful at it. It is like learning a new language or a new way to think because it flies in the face of standard treatment modalities. I may be new at it now, but one day, yes one day I will be conducting research using coherence therapy. I am sold, now if I could just get good at it so that I can effectively use it with clients I would be a very happy person.
I manage to gather my first non-participant observational data this weekend. It only lasted 20-minutes and I found it so difficult to stay focused. It really was an interesting chore. Add to that, I was trying to get as many details as possible that I hope I didn’t miss too much.
Next week, I plan on doing my participant observation and seeing how that goes. It makes life easier that this a practice run and that I am not really gathering data for a “real” research project and still, I find that I am nervous because the assignment will require more from me than I would normally do in the given situation. In any case, I have to stay on top of these assignments or they will get away from me.
Here I am again, trying to plow through articles. I spend a whole morning (2am on) getting caught up only to get behind again. Wow this is frustrating.
Interestingly enough, I know days off are supposed to be for rest and relaxation. Time to be spent with family and laying aside the cares of the world. However, as a grad student, days off from the regular schedule are days in which I don’t get to use my regularly allocated study and research time. I lost five hours yesterday and will lose another five today (the largest chuck of time I have dedicated to reading and writing). At the moment, I am now playing catch up and with homework that is due on Wednesday. Don’t get me wrong, time with my family was great and the assignment clock does not stop when the school goes on fall break.
So, today is going to be my first attempt at a non-participant observational field study. I am nervous and part of me just wants to get it over with. I have thoughts of, what if I don’t get enough of the sensory data, what if my notes are not detailed enough, what if, what if, what if …
I wonder, does anyone feel like Starfleet scientists when they do this? Observe and don’t interfere. Something, feels weird about that concept.
I can’t help myself. For as introverted as I am, I really do love working in teams. Not self-serving, cut-throat, nasty teams. Rather, teams where the people all lock into the same goal and genuinely care about the goal. After 2 years of trying to get a team together to study human trafficking with me, I finally have one. We practiced interviewing yesterday and one of the team members will be transcribing the mock interview so that we can practice coding and memoing. It is exciting to say the least. I have to admit there is a part of me that is a bit nervous, like this is too good to be true. So, I fully plan on living in my state of research bliss for as long as it lasts.
So, in all of the mail that has come to my box in the past week or so, the latest journal of the American Psychologist was buried in a stack of junk mail. Be still my heart, I think I have found the avenue that I will be taking for chapter 2 of my dissertation. The whole thing is about the direction my study will be taking. To quote Stan Lee, Amazing.
The American Psychologist – Oct, 2014 Vol 69 Num 7
So I am in my first qualitative research class this semester. What does that mean? It means epistemology, theoretical perspective, methodology, and methods. I am slamming a ton of information into my brain and I have to say that it does not feel good. Just when I think I am caught up, I find myself behind. It is overwhelming to say the least.
Last night I found myself discussing field work. Interviews (unstructured, semi-structured), observation, and participation. The professor said something wonderful, she said to the class, you are new at this and you are going to suck at it. That is ok, everyone sucks at it the first time. This is hard for me because of my need to achieve. Maybe it is part of being a doctoral student and maybe it is the nature of people who like nerdy things. I don’t know.
What does this mean, it means I am writing in my research journal and in reality, I hope I can keep it up because it really seems important.
It is always interesting to me when I run into someone who has a similar background as myself. Back in the day I was a pentecostal. I know that it is not earth shattering news, but it is a part of my past. There are many things about the pentecostal belief system that I still endorse as part of my anabaptist leanings today.
However, I ran into someone today who said that she grew up pentecostal and it made for an interesting conversation. We compared notes on beliefs and shared a few stories. It has been a while since I talked to someone who understood what it meant to be misunderstood because of a personal religious faith. It was interesting to say the least.
Today has been a bit difficult, I had an outreach to do, and then some psychoeducation. Needless to say, I didn’t get my notes done and I am not sure when I will get a chance to do them as I have a pretty full plate tomorrow. Such is the life of a psychologist in training. My cohort talks all the time about how people don’t understand how much work goes into earning a PhD. They think if someone has 12 hours of coursework that they should have plenty of time for life. Not so. Not so.
Well, I have to get some more reading done. Time to go.
Today is one of those days. A day in which I have a paper due, readings to get done, and not enough time to get it all done. Not to mention, my personal emotional stuff that I am dealing with. At times, it can be overwhelming to process.
I am currently looking at three screens and on one I am typing a quick blog post, on another I have the paper that I need to be working on as I add a section on Heidegger, and on the third I have an article pulled up that compares Husserl and Heidegger. So, it is a bit much.
I don’t want to seem like I am complaining, I feel like this is more a quick vent session. I trust the process and know that everything will get done as it needs to get done. It has for the past three years since I have been in grad school. So, why would it change now? I don’t think it will and the more I type this blog post the less time I am working on my paper. Time to go and see you on the other side.