is there a need for a PhD therapist/coach?

posted
11-Feb-16, 04:58
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
I have submitted my thesis and am now waiting for examiners reports. Assuming it all goes well, I should have my degree awarded in a few months time. I was wondering how great a need is there in the world for a service that provides support to Higher degree Research students, either Masters or Phds. I'm not even sure I can ask this question because it may be considered advertising? If the forum allows this and anyone answers then I'll write more about my experience of doing a PhD over the last 5 years ...
posted
11-Feb-16, 19:54
by Gwen86
Avatar for Gwen86
posted about 3 years ago
Do you have professional training in therapy/counselling? I know there are a number of such services available online, but they tend to be delivered by people who have a primary qualification in counselling and perhaps personal experience of the PhD as an extra.
posted
12-Feb-16, 04:33
edited about 28 seconds later
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
Thank you for your reply gwen86...my primary working experience is as an academic, I've worked at universities in Canada, Australia and South Africa in teaching in the MEd program, in 2009 I qualified as a coach because my work with students is mainly one-to-one. My PhD is on the doctoral supervisory relationship, and I would like to work in this area...Please could you direct me to the online services you mention...I have searched using as many key words as I can think of and I found 1 company based in UK...thank you ....
posted
12-Feb-16, 08:41
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
thank you for that info...it's interesting that in the US the attrition rate of PhDs is 50% and over, whereas in Australia where I am from, it is around 17%....
posted
14-Feb-16, 11:00
edited about 3 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
That's super interesting - what do you think accounts for those vastly different attrition rates? Also, any idea how the UK compares?
posted
15-Feb-16, 08:49
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
Hi...the UK attrition rate is around 25%, but, it varies considerably from uni to uni...There is no empirical evidence to answer your question: why is the attrition rate lower in Australia and much higher in US and in between in UK...my sense from having read in the area for the last 5 years is that it is a combination of factors..entrance requirements are very rigorous in australia, the PhD is entirely funded by the tax payer, so free of charge, which takes the finacila pressure off, there are also scholarships of about $80K to support many of those students...there is a compulsory team now of supervisors and no viva....just to name a few factors...
posted
15-Feb-16, 20:34
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
no viva?!!
posted
16-Feb-16, 06:08
edited about 20 seconds later
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
Nope, no viva, just three external examiners, two of whom need to be international and top in the field...if the thesis requires correction and additions then there is a committee to monitor that process...
posted
16-Feb-16, 16:20
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
super interesting...!
posted
16-Feb-16, 16:22
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
By the way, I'd love to hear more about your experience of doing a PhD over the past 5 years. I think you've identified a key need there - although I'm sure that not everyone would agree. I guess there is the role of the academic advisor in the UK, and then the counselling services. I guess it'd be a combination of those two resources.
posted
17-Feb-16, 07:33
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
Thank you! It has been fascinating to be doing a PhD on PhDs....I agree with you, as far as the uni is concerned the candidate is intellectually well cared for by the advsor/s and for emotional needs, the counselling services. BUT, there is a gap. I went to see a counsellor at one point and she gave me a pile of handouts on anxiety and how to manage stress...when what I wanted to do was talk about how hard it was to be doing a PhD with teenage children, a husband who was experiencing metal health issues, financial worries and supervisors who were giving me the run around and for years did not engage with my writing at a deep level.....The counsellor had not done HDR and I felt could not relate to me. The service I envisage is to provide the emotional support and also provide guidance about both the advisrs role and directly about the thesis without overstepping boundaries that would annoy the supervisors...a niche, to be sure, and then there is the matter of payment....candidates are generally not flush....
posted
17-Feb-16, 07:39
by NBurger
Avatar for NBurger
posted about 3 years ago
I also worked with an older women who had enrolled in a PhD but was very behind the curve. She was recommeneded to work with me to help her to get started. She explained to me that she did not feel comfortable revealing her vulnerabilities to her supervisor because he was also her projectleader at work! So clearly a counsellor would not be able to help and not could the supervisor. I did 6 sessions with her and helped to get her propsal written and her confidence levels up to the point where she felt she could continue with her supervisor alone...
posted
19-Feb-16, 19:57
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 years ago
It's very interesting. Some would argue that the struggling and difficulties are part of the PhD/self development process.

But on the other hand, if universities want higher completion rates...

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