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:
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.
I have a short term plan to move to Cape Town from Durban and engage in a three-year study period. None of this is final yet and I am still in the early stages of planning a radical life-shift. I am hoping that I will be able to add to the body of knowledge in South Africa around the lived experience of people who have known trauma and how they can benefit from coaching in mindfulness and making meaning or unfolding meaning. The study would take three years. I have not yet been accepted to the universities I have applied to, so right now there is a wait. I would also need funding and that is also up in the air. So in many real senses I am in a corridor phase of my life. Looking for a way to actualise my own purpose and meaning, by helping others.
In order to get there with money being no object, I would go on the thirteen day Durban to Cape Town trip via Lesotho. The map below shows the direct route so that you can get an idea of the distance. However, the tour would follow a rather different route. This tour would be through African Budget Safaris. An overview of the journey is included below and you could visit African Safaris at the link above to get an idea of the trip details.