Showing posts from August, 2012

Midlife angst? Turmoil? Not at all!

A paper by Hoffman, E., S. Kaneshiro, et al, questions whether the common midlife experience really is one of creeping anxiety and turmoil - the midlife crisis... and they discover that, actually, we don't really know, as there has been no published research in this area. So they have gone ahead and asked people about a recent joyful experience and its subsequent impact on their outlook on life. All participants reported "a personally meaningful, inspirational experience occurring during this life period" (p.493). This is cheering - and no wonder, when we find that this is based on Maslow's positive psychology and especially the idea of 'peak experiences', which is a full part of the experience of being a self-actualised person. As the authors report:
Maslow offered repeated and trenchant criticism of mainstream psychoanalysis for fixating on the “nasty . . . ‘dark, dirty’” elements of human personality (Maslow, 1971, p. 310). For precisely this reason, Maslo…

Lack of empathy and free documentaries online

With my abiding interest in empathy as part of the person-centred approach, I watched a fascinating documentary on psychopathy - human beings who lack empathy - called I, Psychopath. I also learnt about 'Narcissistic personality disorder', which can be an overlapping condition (part of the sinisterly named Dark Triad), with a similar lack of empathy. However, it is worth remembering, as chilling as some of this seems - that this is not a life-choice that people just make, they are not deliberately 'bad' or 'evil' - this is something they are born with (or without, depending on how you look at it) - and the film clearly shows this, with the person with psychopathy having a brain scan and clearly showing no brain activity under emotional stimulation.  Clearly, there are implications for managing the condition in society, for all of our benefit - psychopaths are thought to be responsible for half of all reported crimes and to make up between 15% and 20% of the pri…

Person-Centred Everything: Meetings

The beginnings here of person-centred meetings taken from a conversation with Rachel at the Temenos conference last year: Be real, trusting, empathicCreate a warm, welcoming, unconditional spaceSit in silence (it really is golden)Don’t have an agenda

Person-Centred Everything: Presentations

Because person-centredness is not a set of rules or techniques, but a way of being, then, as Carl Rogers pointed out, the approach can be 'applied' to, well, everything. Here's how a person-centred presentation might look (might? HAS looked - I've seen person-centred presenters overcome with emotion, and saw a presenter start dancing), showing more of the extent and variety of person-centredness: Be real, trusting, empathicTake risksLeave spaces in presentations for feedback, say at the startSay how you are feeling – if you are feeling nervous, passionate, emotionalShow how you are feeling – laugh, cry...Dance if you wish

Easier transcription of interviews

F4 is a fantastic piece of software for data transcription which allows you to permanently link & sync your file (mp3, ogg, wma, wav, aif, avi and mpg) to the output file, allowing rechecking at a later date. The software is easy to use and features a short automatic rewind, which is a joy when trying to transcribe quickly and smoothly - when you play the data again, you hear the last two or three words. Playback speed can be altered too, so that those difficult to understand passages can be focused on. If you wish to find a particular part of the interview, pressing F3 and F5 allow you to hear the data when you fast forward and rewind. Time-markers can be inserted (by you or automatically) in order to sync for proof-reading or analysis. Automatic backup (10 mins) means you won't lose data.

You can download the software here.

And here are some really clear instructions for this easy to use program (btw F4 is for Windows - F5 is the Apple version).

Update - just discovered by…

Easy backup for your Google Calendars

I was just doing a quick backup and thought you may not know about this lovely little trick - just paste into your browser and go - you will download a zip file of all of your calendars.
That's it.

Person-Centred Research Methods: Cooperative Inquiry

We want to work with people, not samples (Reason & Heron, 1986, 302)
John Heron and Peter Reason proposed a comprehensive person-centred research method in 1971, which is clearly expounded in "Research with people: The paradigm of cooperative experiential inquiry." (I couldn’t find a version online but there is a chapter from John Heron’s Handbook of Action Research that covers the same ground).

The approach is called ‘co-operative or experiential inquiry’ and the key idea is that it is not of but with persons, who are “to some significant degree self-determining” (293) – excluding this would simply mean that it is not a claim of a science of persons. Therefore, all active participants are fully involved in research decisions as co-researchers: “the self-directing person is the primary source of knowing” (293) Important issues stemming from this position are that “…at a minimum everyone involved needs to be initiated into the inquiry process and give their free and info…

What's done and what's to do

This title runs throughout the blog and it's really a way of me keeping tabs on where I am in the whole doctoral research process - however, I feel that it's also potentially useful to share as a way of showing the process itself...
What's done Started again on my Independent Study Research Module (ISRM) work - this is a very large step on the way towards writing the doctorate itself - it is composed of four chapters, including introduction, literature review and methodology - this is what I've done this week: clarified main aspects of literature review Wrote up research design framework began person-centred research methodsWrote up article about reflexivity (person-centred)Updated a couple of refs in EndnoteWhat's to do Analyse questionnaire resultsTranscribe interview and analyseWrite both upWrite up Person-Centred Research MethodsEvaluate person-centred graduate education bookStart clearing and incorporating google tasks for ISRM Incorporate work done on ethical re…

Person-Centred Research Methods: Reflexivity

In a pioneering article (Negotiating the swamp: the opportunity and challenge of reflexivity in research practice), Linda Finlay of the Open University looks at how ‘researcher-explorers’ from a range of research traditions have negotiated the perils of ‘the swamp’ of reflexive analysis.

Why use the word ‘pioneering’? For me, the innovative aspect of this paper is the use of italics, which Finlay uses intermittently throughout as a ‘meta-reflexive voice’ to help tease out the critical issues at stake. Coming from the person-centred approach, I think this is a neat way to square the circle of being my authentic self in my writing whilst also writing ‘objectively’in the third person for the purposes of academic convention. I would much rather simply include my reflexivity in the text, rather than segregating it – and, certainly, later in his career, Carl Rogers wrote as ‘himself’, in the first person, as he clearly understood the nonsense of third person writing – however, he was a highl…