I am so happy and grateful to the University of South Africa, (UNISA), that has awarded me a PHD Bursary, based on academic merit. I am delighted to say that this will make my continuation in this research possible. My deepest thanks to the Postgraduate Bursaries Department. Also, the greatest news, I have a wonderful new Supervisor.
Title of Research: “From Frozen Space to Meaning. A Psycho-Educational Intervention Among a Group of PTSD and/or Trauma Sufferers Based on Mindfulness and the Work of Viktor Frankl.”
PHD Research proposal approved by the Psychology Department Ethics Committee of University of South Africa, (UNISA)! My thanks to my supervisor Professor Teria Shantall for inspiring me in the first place and for her patience and invaluable advice and to the Department of Psychology for all their help, support and incredibly quick responses. So next year looks like it might be a GO.
“From frozen space to meaning: A psycho-educational intervention among a group of PTSD and/or trauma sufferers based on mindfulness and the work of Viktor Frankl.”
My journey in all ways is towards uncovering/discovering the “great perhaps”. I wrote about aspects of my personal journey here:
How Finding Meaning and Helping others Helped a PTSD Sufferer
A post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferer, had a sense of doom, of no future, but as a result of getting help with finding meaning and helping others he said:
“I never thought I’d look in the mirror and see a 52 year old staring back. Never dreamed I’d live this long and I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time just waiting for the ax to fall. I think now that if I continue to practice doing that one thing every day that I know in my heart is right, maybe my life will have meant something. Those kids I tutor have taught me a lot about my own family and myself. They know when I’m supposed to arrive and they can’t wait to see me and now I’ve got that with my grandkids. What’s most important for me now is to be there for them, not let them down.”
Logotherapy as an Adjunctive Treatment for Chronic Combat-related PTSD: A Meaning-based Intervention by S. Southwick, R. Gilmartin, P. McDonough, P. Morrissey (AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY, Vol. 60, No. 2, 2006, 2 p. 172)
Sunday family swimming photo taken by Carol K
Having encountered Dr Viktor Frankl in studying the Introductory course in Logotherapy at the University of South Africa, (UNISA), in 2012 and meeting Dr Teria Shantall at the workshop, I discovered my own vehicle to unfolding my meaning. At the time I was not sure how this would unfold. I really wanted to become a Logotherapist, but was not in the financial position to continue with the other courses offered at UNISA. In the time since then I have been in the process of paring down, which began with the letting out of my home. I moved in with my sister and then into a tiny “cupboard” as I put my house on the market, sold it and waited for my funds to come through. During this time of waiting and paring down, I worked on a fictional short story: Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, and a small How to Guide on How to Reduce Stress, which I learnt how to publish as an ebook through BookBaby, which is nearing completion and due for submission to BookBaby for distribution.
As I struggled with the confines of the small space and many disruptions and lack of peace and quiet while living in my “cupboard”, I came to the idea to do a PHD to work with sufferers of trauma and PTSD. The underlying inspiration for this came from my relationship with Brett Pelser, who suffered so from depression and what I feel was PTSD. Finally and tragically he committed suicide. The idea also is deeply inspired by Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl. I really feel that trauma sufferers experience an existential crisis, their world no longer makes sense, they have no language to speak this senselessness, this schism in their very being and at the heart of their lives. My journey has taken me across the country to the Western Cape, which has the highest trauma statistics in the country. I have been accepted to do this PHD through UNISA and the Psychology Department. Things are uncertain for me in terms of creating an income to support myself and this study. I am staying in the moment, being positive and looking forward to new opportunities. A new life, a revealing and unfolding, the time is now.
Image of the beach five minutes from my new space. Courtesy Carol Knox.
If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?
Yes, I would work. I would spend my time writing both non-fiction and fiction, especially short stories.
I would also establish a Trauma Practice and work with those who have experienced life traumas of various kinds. Cape Town, South Africa has the highest levels of trauma experiences of various kinds, including PTSD, in the country. I would like to be able to travel to areas that have experienced trauma or disaster and give assistance there. I would use coaching and Logotherapeutic techniques. I would focus on finding meaning and meaning making. Mindfulness and meditation would also be included.
Stress reduction techniques would marry very well with the above.
I see this as my future work. Out of the rain and the dark and into the song.