school


I just entered the assignments listed on the syllabi from my first two (of four) classes–Family Theory and Gender & Ethnicity in Family Therapy. It’s all reading and writing. There are about 20 assignments that I have on repeat in my PDA, so they only show up once here. Still, I anticipate that this is about half of my workload for the next 10 weeks.

Virtual dialog entry for Family Theory    10/6/2009
Two questions from readings–Family Theory    10/7/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 1    10/7/2009
616 e-reserve Glasserfeld    10/7/2009
619 Genogram    10/7/2009
McGoldrick ch 1    10/7/2009
Read Genogram Materials folder    10/7/2009
619 Read AAMFT Code of Ethics URL    10/7/2009
619 Read Chronister, McWhirter, & Kerewsky [In Ecological Model folder]    10/7/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 2    10/14/2009
616 Pragmatics ch 2-3    10/14/2009
616 e-reserve Bateson Theory of schizophrenia    10/14/2009
616 Sullivan lecture 1    10/14/2009
619 Ecological risk and resilience worksheet    10/14/2009
Read a chapter of McGoldrick et al. that relates to your family of origin, and one that seems very different. Write in your journal about these chapters, particularly in relation to yourself.    10/14/2009
Read McGoldrick et al., Appendix: Cultural Assessment    10/14/2009
Skim McGoldrick et al., Chapters 36, 37, 38    10/14/2009
619 Genogram and ecological worksheet due    10/14/2009
619 Read Shachtman    10/14/2009
619 Skim Paniagua    10/14/2009
619 Read McIntosh URL    10/14/2009
619 Read Kincaid    10/14/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 3    10/21/2009
Family theory quiz 1    10/21/2009
Pragmatics ch 4-5    10/21/2009
616 e-reserve Jackson on Homeostasis    10/21/2009
616 Sullivan lecture 2    10/21/2009
619 Read Gone    10/21/2009
619 Read Phinney et al.    10/21/2009
619Read Sullivan et al.    10/21/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 4    10/28/2009
Pragmatics ch 6-7 and epilogue    10/28/2009
616 e-reserve Jackson on Study of the Family    10/28/2009
Sullivan lecture 3    10/28/2009
619 1000-1500 wd reflection paper (weird format–look in syll)    10/28/2009
Read McGoldrick et al,. Chapter 20, 21, 27    10/28/2009
619 Read Serdarevic & Chronister     10/28/2009
619 Read Boyd-Ball & Dishion    10/28/2009
619 Read Nguyen    10/28/2009
619 Read Ung    10/28/2009
619 Read Littleford    10/28/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 5    11/4/2009
Tactics, beginning to end of ch 2    11/4/2009
616 e-reserve Jackson: sick sad savage sane    11/4/2009
Sullivan lecture IV    11/4/2009
619 Begin reading Him    11/4/2009
619 Read Hertlein    11/4/2009
619 Read Grealy    11/4/2009
619 Read Grealy    11/4/2009
619 Read Decker    11/4/2009
619 Read Kerewsky    11/4/2009
619 Read Steele    11/4/2009
619 Read Mahalik et al.    11/4/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 6    11/11/2009
Tactics ch 3-4    11/11/2009
616 e-reserve Jackson, Myth of normality    11/11/2009
Sullivan lecture V    11/11/2009
619 Responses to clinical vignettes due    11/11/2009
619 Read Davies et al.    11/11/2009
619 Read Loschiavo et al.    11/11/2009
619 Read Swofford    11/11/2009
619 Read APA Guidelines for Psycholological Work with Girls and Women    11/11/2009
619 Read Ali    11/11/2009
Read McGoldrick et al., Chapters 10, 22, 23     11/11/2009
619 Read Beatie    11/11/2009
619 Read Carroll, Gilroy, & Ryan    11/11/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 7    11/18/2009
Family theory quiz 2    11/18/2009
Tactics ch 5-6    11/18/2009
616 e-reserve Dramatization of Evil    11/18/2009
619 Clinical paper    11/18/2009
619 Read hooks    11/18/2009
619 Read Lott    11/18/2009
619 Read Miller & Thoreson    11/18/2009
619 Read Beah    11/18/2009
619 Read Williams & Williams-Morris    11/18/2009
619 Read Reeve    11/18/2009
619 Read Root    11/18/2009
Read McGoldrick et al., Chapter 5    11/18/2009
Skim McGoldrick et al., Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9    11/18/2009
Personal Epistemology essay 8    11/25/2009
Family theory paper presentation    11/25/2009
Tactics ch 7-9    11/25/2009
616 e-reserve Tomm on Milan FT    11/25/2009
619 Read Yardley    11/25/2009
Tactics ch 10-12    12/2/2009
616 e-reserve Madanes on Stratigic FT    12/2/2009
619 Read doctoral students’ summary of Sue et al.    12/2/2009
619 Read Georgas et al. (2 parts)    12/2/2009

I got back from Vermont and Not Back to School Camp last night and spent today scurrying to get ready for the start of my term. I’m doing a masters in Couples and Family Therapy, starting tomorrow. I’ll do a year of theory (lots of lectures, reading, and writing) and then a year of practice. I’ll be taking clients next summer. Here’s the list of classes for the first term, with the descriptions provided by the program:

Research Methods Research strategies, statistics, and techniques relevant to the field of family therapy provide evaluative skills for interpretation of statistical data, qualitative and quantitative research methods and the bi-directional continuum for research design.

Introduction to Family Therapy Overview of the major models and methods of systemic counseling as they have evolved in the field of family therapy. Application of systemic therapy models to assessment and treatment protocol for common presenting problems.

Family Theory A study of the major theoretical orientation and general theories relevant to the study of the family including exchange theory, symbolic interaction, general systems approach, conflict and phenomenology.

Gender and Ethnicity Introduction to thinking critically about clients’ and therapist’s group memberships and identifications, and the effects of these on the therapeutic relationship and interventions. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding both enduring and changing human diversity contexts through the use of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model and genograms as both assessment and intervention techniques.

“Hullo, I would like a photo of you in your cap and gown, grinning, please. If such a picture exists, anyway,” wrote Maya.

Yes, Maya, they do, thanks to Gabriel, Maggie, and Rachael Seluga:

In the Lineup, Grinning

In the Lineup, Grinning

Nathen Gets Diploma (Grinning)

Nathen Gets Diploma from Grinning President

Nathen, Graduated, Grinning

Nathen, Graduated, Grinning

Nathen and Gabriel, Grinning

Nathen and Gabriel, Grinning

Nathen and Christine, Grinning

Nathen and Christine, Grinning

Gabriel Takes Grinning Nathen to Dinner

Gabriel Takes Grinning Nathen to Dinner

I just posted the last two papers of my undergraduate career: my honors thesis, “Differentiating the Effects of Social and Personal Power,” and my research project for Psycholinguistics, “The Relationship between Clarity of Enunciation and Idea Density.” They are under ‘writing,’ which is under ‘out’ in my sidebar.

I don’t recommend reading them unless you are a researching these topics (in which case, I do recommend reading them). If you’re not used to scholarly writing, just read the abstracts–the first paragraphs. They tell you everything you need to know. It’s kind of funny that I just worked really hard for over a year on something that almost no one will be interested in reading. It was an astounding amount of work, comparable to making a record, from songwriting and rehearsing to mastering. And a lot more work than some records. This was not a punk record.

Well, since I just said not to read it after I’ve been posting about it for months, I guess I should at least summarize it. Here we go:

Social power is power over other people. Any kind of power. There is a lot of research on what having social power does to you, and it’s mostly bad: more stereotyping, less perspective taking, seeing others as a means to your ends etc. It’s the kind of stuff that might keep powerful people in power. Reading this stuff is pretty alarming for a feminist like me. It’s way more complicated than that, of course, but you’re getting the super short version here.

Personal power is power over yourself. There hasn’t been much research on its effects, just enough to suggest that it’s what people really want when they are struggling for power over each other, the real goal is self-governance.

I tried to test whether personal power has similar or different effects on perspective taking than social power. I was not able to do that, for complicated reasons. I was, however, able to find evidence that people consider personal power a broader category than social power. That is, you can sink to greater depths and rise to higher heights of personal power than you can social power. Second, I found that without a salient reminder of personal power, people did not make a distinction between social and personal power. That’s pretty interesting, because if people are out there trying to claw their way up the hierarchy, it may just be because they haven’t made the distinction between what they probably really want–personal power–and what they are working for–social power.

That may seem intuitive and like “why would you want to spend a year finding evidence for something so obvious?” but for a scientist, coming across something that seems obvious that hasn’t been tested is a gold mine. All kinds of obvious things have turned out to not be true. That’s one cool thing about psychology–it’s a baby science, so those unlooked-at areas are all over the place. There is only one other scientist that I’m aware of that’s looking into this subject too, Marius Van Dijke, in the Netherlands. Luckily, he’s got resources and will likely have much more traction on it than I could as an undergrad with one year to work and a $100 budget.

Next Friday, sometime after 5 pm, I will have a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Oregon. I’m going to walk and have a cap and gown and everything–I just borrowed the costume from a friend. I was supposed to buy a green braid for $12 too, because I’m graduating with honors, but it seemed like a scam. A lot of what comes up around graduation have seemed like scams. You can spend thousands of dollars on costumes and invitations and rings and memberships in various societies, not to mention airfare, lodging, and party supplies for friends and relatives coming from around the country. I have to admit to being a bit cynical about the whole thing. I only decided a couple weeks ago that I was going to walk. I went to the ceremony for the psych department last year and was not moved by it. Plus, I’m a little disappointed in how little you have to know to graduate from college. You can learn a lot, if you set your mind to it, but you don’t have to. I doubt you could graduate without being able to read, write and do some math, but I know for certain that you don’t have to do any of them well.

But I changed my mind. First, I was nominated to speak at the ceremony. I didn’t get the gig, but it seemed possible for a while, and I thought it would be a great challenge to come up with something good to say, and deliver it effectively. That would make the ceremony meaningful for me, and it would be weird to speak but not walk. And then when I started thinking about it I liked the idea more and more. Doing my honors thesis in the last year I’ve made several friends in my graduating class. We’ve been through the wringer together and supported each other and I feel really warmly towards them. I’ve also gotten to know some of the faculty and grad students in the department. And I have a bunch of good friends in Springfield and Eugene now, from dancing and music and Not Back to School Camp. It would be great to see them all in one place. I sent an email invitation to everyone nearby who I have an address for. I have no idea who will show up, I’m looking forward to seeing whoever does. (If you live in the area but did not get the email, I’m sorry. I may not have your address. Please come!)

Then there’s the importance of graduating itself. That I’m not so sure about. I love going to school. I love learning. I’m chronically curious. My getting a BS is about as momentous as skiing a lot is to someone who loves to ski. A couple of my friends who are graduating with me will be the first people in their families ever to graduate from college, and I can see that that makes a difference. My family has graduate degrees within a few generations on both sides, and everyone I’ve met in my family could easily have gotten a graduate degree if they’d been interested. They just haven’t been interested. Can I feel pride about this? I’m not sure. I think I’m going to give it a try. I have made the most of it. I have truly applied myself, learned a mountain of information, learned how to conduct scientific research, made myself into a much better reader and writer and more rigorous and open-minded thinker. I’ve also gotten myself into a graduate program in which I intend to become a strong and resourceful ally for couples and families. That is stuff to be proud about.

A guy who works in my social cognition lab, Adam Kramer, worked at Google recently and had access to their database and developed this way of sorting the words people use in blogs–a huge sample, as you might imagine. He found that blogging exists in a five dimensional space: melancholy, social, ranty, metaphysical, and work. These are apparently real and parsimonious dimensions. Since his presentation, I’ve often wondered where my blog fit in that space. I asked him about writing a blog widget that measured individual blogs–or posts, even. Posts might be better. I’d like to have a little bar graph at the top of each post indicating the level of rantiness, etc. He seemed to think it was a good idea but didn’t seem to be in a big hurry to write it. He’s working on his dissertation, about delayed decision making.

Anyway, that was just to set up my little rant. Ahem.

It pisses me off when my fellow students are on the internet during lectures. I can’t stand it. I have to move to the front row or something so I can’t see. Many of them are also using their computers to take some notes on what the professor is saying but that’s about 15% of what I see, and I’ve never seen a student with a laptop in a lecture who completely abstained from the net. The lure of Facebook is too strong. I’m not sure why it gets my goat so much, but it does. It may be that I relate to the professors more than I do to the students in most cases, especially these cases. If I was teaching a college class, I don’t think I would allow laptops. Check them at the door. I’ll buy you some ice for your poor, aching, handwriting hand. Oh, and your phones, too, thanks. Texting is just as bad.

I am a few weeks past halfway through my 38th year, conveniently marked by my brother Damian’s birthday, and the start of my spring term. Here’s an update on how my intentions for the year are coming along.

1. Add new knowledge to the field of social psychology: I have just finished (I hope) crunching numbers for my honors thesis, and I can say that I have helped produce some new evidence, at least. It is not as sexy as I had hoped, but I have learned a whole lot about the process of psychology research, and that is the main point, as my advisor keeps reminding me.

2. Break my habit of scratching and picking my skin, including biting my lip: I have made some progress here, using a technique Reanna told me about: snapping myself with a hair band around my wrist whenever I had the urge to touch myself. My success varies clearly with my stress level. It requires mindfulness. Another insight/confusion: picking and lip biting, I can tell, are pure stress responses, but the scratching I think is more than that. I seem to be an itchier than normal person. A dermatologist told me that it was the “notoriously harsh” hand-made soap I have been using. I accepted that explanation until I realized on my ride home that he had been wrong. I only use soap on a few key areas. By his reasoning my armpits should be itchier than most of me, and they are not. Any ideas?

3. Celibacy: This has been no problem. I have not been tested, however; no one that I am aware of has wanted to have sex with me. When I first told Grace about this one, she said, “You are going to learn a lot from doing that, but you know, now that you are committed, you will immediately meet someone who will make it very challenging.” Well, not yet.

4. Dance every day, working on 1) musicality 2) vocabulary 3) style: This is going pretty well, though some days my dancing is just a token, so I could say I did. I had a big breakthrough in musicality on my fast dancing at Seattle Balboa Festival in February. The choreography I have been working on with Karly has been helping my working vocabulary. And the main reason I decided to take ballet is to improve my poise and lines. It is easy for me to get into an I-could-be-doing-so-much-more/better state. There is a guy who started in the same beginning class that I did in Eugene who really dove in and is now a rock-star dancer in Portland, winning national competitions. But I still give myself a thumbs up on this one.

5. Finish bachelor’s degree: Yes. I am on track to graduate with honors on June 13, 2009.

6. Get accepted into a couples and family therapy graduate program: Yes. I start in the University of Oregon’s CFT masters program on September 29 (happy birthday to me!), 2009. I’m very excited.

7. Maintain this blog: I have a lot more ideas for posts than actual posts, but I am pretty happy with NME so far. It has been a consistent source of inspiration for me. I get about 20 clicks a day, on average, which seems pretty respectable. The lowest I go is three (two of which are my ever-hopeful-for-a-post Mom, I just discovered), and my peak was 62 on March 31, the day after I posted the guide to my sidebar. I wonder who you all are.

8. Meditate every day: Yes. Sometimes just a few minutes, but yes.

9. Produce a record with David Waingarten: This is not going to happen this year, which I’m sad about. I love this guy’s voice and songwriting. He also makes movies, though, and that’s what he did with his time and money this year. The movie looks good, though. Here’s a preview: This Is Now

10. Record an EP with my band, Abandon Ship: This project is not on schedule, partly because of #12, below, and partly because of how much work an honors thesis is, on top of an internship and classes. I am working on it , but it will almost certainly not be done by my birthday.

11. See healthcare provider each month until all my body concerns are resolved: Yes, I have been doing this. I’ve seen a dermatologist, an orthopedist, a urologist, and two chiropractors. I’m disappointed with the results, so far. I seem to be collecting concerns faster than I am resolving them. Hmm… That makes it seem like I am on my last legs. I am quite healthy, overall, actually.

12. Set up a slick system of musical collaboration over the internet and use it regularly: This has come together much slower than I anticipated, but I have every reason to believe I will be up and running by early May. I can hardly wait.

13. Shift my schedule three hours earlier for at least one term: In bed by 11 pm: I’m very happy with this one, so far. I have not pulled it off perfectly for a term straight—my dance schedule conflicts somewhat with it—but I’d say 90% of the time I’m in bed by 11:30, at least, and that means I’m waking up naturally before my alarm 90% of the time. I love it!

14. Sing out every day: I have not been doing this as I had hoped. I am still inspired to sing out like my friend Zen Zenith, but I have not been working on it with any regularity.

15. Take African dance classes: Yes, I have taken two classes from master dancer Alseny Yansane, and they were awesome. Unfortunately, I have been having this low back pain that has kept me from dancing with that extreme athleticism. When my back stops hurting, I will go back.

16. Write at least one song per month: Nope. I have not written even one complete song. Ouch.

17. Make at least one of each item in Maya’s cookbook: Yummm. I have made four of 19 recipes: Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes, Super Hero Granola, Corn Chowder, and Maya’s Tomato soup. They were all excellent except I burned the granola.

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