PhD/PsyD Graduate Admissions Support Group

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Sharewithme, Apr 1, 2017.

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  1. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Mar 18, 2017
    Hello,

    I'm creating a support group for former applicants, those whose graduate school applications have been denied, and new applicants, those who have not applied to graduate school but would like to. My focus is on American Psychological Association (APA) accredited programs (i.e. Ph.D./Psy.D. in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology) because this is my area of interest. I will gladly consider expanding the membership focus to programs inside and outside the APA accredited ones if people express a need and interest. I like going through the SDN to find interested individuals for the support group because SDN is a website monitored for appropriate and mature behavior. This responsible behavior is a graduate admissions support group requirement, too. How the graduate admissions support group differs from the support that is offered through SDN it that is frames and acknowledges graduate school admissions denial through the grief/loss lens while at the same time houses a space for applicants, former and new, to put our best selves forward as we work together and (re)apply.

    Please check out the website Peer Support I created and tell me what you think! It is free to join and participate in the support group. It is more personal than the SDN in that anyone interested in putting a face to a name while describing their research, teaching, and practice interests is encouraged to; contact me so we can make it happen. You can choose to remain anonymous, nonetheless, and still benefit from group services. Good luck all!

    Kind Regards,
    Sharewithme
     
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  3. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Mar 18, 2017
    Um, no replies? Ha ha with around 300 views and not a word to this post something's up. I find humor in logic stuff like that (that out of a lot of views in probability terms at least it increases my chances of hearing something...yet no replies?). Besides logic, and what best captures my intentions, is that you guys and girls are great, and so I would really appreciate some feedback. If it's not all praise and sunshine, I can take it, but good comments about the group are welcome, too. Thanks, and I hope you're all doing well.

    Best,
    Sharewithme
     
  4. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I glanced through the posts and some of the blog posts are concise and neat (e.g., faculty perspectives). Some of the other ones seem pretty light on content generation and just have some links though.
    I guess I'm confused about how it's a "group" when I don't see the web site allowing for interaction. Isn't Facebook a better medium for interaction?
    IMO, the "grief/loss" angle would be overkill for me. Maybe that's your target tho.
     
  5. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Seems like over-pathologizing normal emotions by going the grief/loss route. Could be damaging in the same way that CISD is/was.
     
  6. psych.meout

    psych.meout

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    This sounds like competition for SDN. Gets ready for the full force of internet strangers to hurt your feelings!
     
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  7. beyondnervous

    beyondnervous

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    I clicked on the site and wanted to provide you with some feedback. Briefly browsing through the sections, I don't see additional incentives for why SDN users would sign up for your "group" (It feels/reads more like a website or a personal blog vs. a group, by the way) when SDN already provides excellent resources and the ability for applicants to express their frustrations/vent/receive feedback from a variety of individuals already in the field (e.g., those who have gone through the application process several rounds, current graduate students, faculty, etc). Your website also has very personalized content many applicants may not relate to or find useful, since the content was created/added from your perspective/preferences only. Perhaps you may want to consider creating a Facebook group instead and create the content in a more interactive platform? For example, you can create a post that asks users to provide "Positive websites" they've found useful, or what music/songs helps them relax, ect. Good luck! :)
     
  8. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center 5+ Year Member

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    I agree with others about making the group more interactive. I also think that the grief and loss angle is a bit much, and could be especially off-putting to those who have experienced grief and loss in the more typical sense.

    Maybe a "dealing with rejection" thread on this forum would be a good place to test the waters? I would expect that interest in the topic will peak a couple times of year (post-internship match and post-grad school admissions decisions).
     
  9. smalltownpsych

    smalltownpsych 2+ Year Member

    Sales is all about identifying a need and meeting that need. Do students who are rejected need a support group or does SDN serve that function already? Additionally, many students will have other existing emotional supports that they are already using such as family, friends, religion, psychotherapy, mentors, etc. I am sure that you could say why a specific support group would be better, but it doesn't matter as long as the target audience feels that what they have already is good enough.

    I used to work in sales for quite some time and I well remember a new ad campaign that was going to hit 100s of thousands of people and us being ready for the onslaught of calls and the phones being dead, dead, dead. We learned that the broad audience was not as effective for us as was a more targeted approach and that print was a better medium than broadcast. Good luck!
     
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  10. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad 2+ Year Member

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    As others have said, I don't see an additive component of this group to message forums that already exist and I am also a skeptical of the use 'grief/loss' language because it seems to over-pathologize the experience of frustration.
     
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  11. jmiah717

    jmiah717

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    Seems like what you're trying to do is easily accomplished with a thread. I've seen other threads (like those at the bottom of this page under "similar threads") that seem to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish. To me, it sort of sounds like, "hey, come let me help you, even though I may or may not actually be qualified to do so. Then I'll have some tangible thing to show for my own personal gain." That may be unfair, but that's what it sounds like to me at least. Not saying there is anything wrong with that but why bother with that when all the support you need is in the place where you are trying to siphon members from? I've noticed that you've resurrected some inactive threads, even at least one where the person you were targeting actually achieved admission as they stated on another thread. Seems like if one is rejected, time is better served by readying their application and subsequent materials for another go at it as opposed to commiserating with others who probably don't have a lot of advice to offer anyway since they also did not get in. Anyway, just some thoughts since you asked.
     
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  12. smalltownpsych

    smalltownpsych 2+ Year Member

    Another way to think about this is that a relatively small percentage of people want to participate in support groups of any type. When it is something with a larger pool like addiction or cancer victims or bereavement then that small percentage of the larger group can be enough to get a group going. People applying for doctoral programs and getting rejected is a pretty small group to start with.
     
  13. beyondnervous

    beyondnervous

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    *Additional thought/concern (After reading @jmiah717's input): On your "about me," you explicitly state that this "support group" is "a key project integrating your personal and professional interests [of college student and adult grief/loss and social support]." Did you plan to use the information from participant interactions or the platform you have already created for research purposes? If so, I believe this moves into the grounds of obtaining IRB approval and having an actual professional/qualified (PhD holding) mentor to provide oversight for whatever your end goal is. I think clearly elaborating on the purpose of creating this website and what personal motives you have might bring some clarity to the questions/concerns potential "members" may raise before deciding to join your webpage/group.
     
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  14. super.ego

    super.ego

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    I know this was [probably] not your intention, but as I was reading through your website I got the impression that the group's aim was more about bolstering its creators' resumes than helping those in need. Additionally, your site's not demonstrating benefits beyond what SDN offers (as other posters identified) only serves to reinforce my initial impression, i.e., that the website is less about helping others and more about "helping ourselves."

    Perhaps I'm being too cynical, which is certainly possible. Did anyone have a similar reaction?
     
  15. modestmousktr

    modestmousktr 2+ Year Member

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    Yikes. You probably want to be less confrontational to your peers when your real name/school is attached to this website. I know there are some regularly "snarky" posters on the board that people come to expect, and I am not one of them... more of a lurker over several years that will add my two cents once a year or so if I feel helpful, but mostly come for advice. But I do have to say, in addition to all of the other concerns raised by other posters, there are just some basic things you will want to do for your professional image before this goes "live". One would be to finish the website- many of the areas of the website tell you to insert text, or state that it is where an excerpt belongs... the audience can see this, so it looks like you can't finish projects (not great for when grad adcoms google your name!). The second would be to stop trying to "sell" the website so much... I've noticed you reply to several comments in other threads about this, and I know it's a tough game and you're just trying to network, but it's giving people a weird vibe, which will come off to other professionals.

    Good luck with everything... you two seem like competent and capable professionals, and with some fine-tuning, IRB approval, and professional development, this could be great.
     
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  16. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA 5+ Year Member

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    I've visited your page. From a practical standpoint, I do think you need to get to the meat of how to join the group much quicker. It's not until the last sentence of the third page on the menu (which would be the fourth page I have to read if i go in order) where I find out that i need to join a facebook page. Depending on how I'm accessing your website, this might require me to change apps. I think you'd lose people that way. Think about it- I have to read a bunch of stuff, all the way to the end, to finally find out that I need to go somewhere else and do more stuff get joined in a group, and I really haven't even been told what I should expect from the group (is it a blog? random non-moderated post to facebook?) or what is expected of me. The incomplete sections of the website make it look poorly thought out and exucuted, if not a little scammy. You tell me you're a researcher looking for admission to graduate school- this sets me up to expect a more finished, refined project. Instead, i get links to "customizers" and am informed that blocks of words are "test widgets." How does that help me cope with rejection? Also- put your biographies at the end of the menu links. Having them at the front makes it look too much like a vanity project. I'd avoid telling people directly that you see yourself as a good leader. If this is true, it will be obvious. Simplify it all from the beginning- tell us what we need to do, and what, specifically we should expect to get from the group. You are marketing this a resource to people going through a tough time. You need to make it easy and clearly show how it could be beneficial. As it looks to me in it's current form, it seems that it would be a bunch of poorly moderated stories of rejections, with a lot of "hang in there" and "this song makes me feel better" type of advice.
     
  17. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I didn't see this when I looked at the page, and I still couldn't find it just now even trying to figure out where you were saying to click.
     
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  18. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA 5+ Year Member

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    It's not a link, just an instruction of what to search for and then click on in facebook.
     
  19. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy 2+ Year Member

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    Since you are looking for constructive feedback, I too find the grief language to be too much- e.g., on the powerpoint, "Something precious from your life is now gone. Of course you are sad. Of course you feel deep sorrow (Wolfelt, 2003, p. 62)." I think that would apply more to failing out of grad school or something. If you never gained acceptance in the first place, then what loss have you really experienced, other than maybe being out some time and money? As someone mentioned above, I would frame the project as focused on resilience in the face of rejection, not grief/loss. Frankly I think if someone feels like not getting accepted into an educational program results in a sense of actual grief (defined as "deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement" per Merriam Webster, versus a more expected mix of disappointment, frustration, maybe a little shock but not shock like the sudden death of someone close to them) then that person likely needs much more significant support than a website. Like, probably psychotherapy to help deal with emotional regulation.

    Some of the language on loss seems more appropriate but the talk about grief was a turnoff. If I were in that situation of getting rejected, I'd want to do a little commiserating (prob via something like facebook or SDN) and then get on to the pointers about how to make my app better the next time (or come up with a plan B if I didn't have one already). If I were in my first round of applications and came across all this talk about grief, I'd think to myself that I don't need to be around all this talk about grief and emotionality because that will make me anxious and stressed, and interfere with the work I have to do to craft a good application... so let me go somewhere else where I can get that constructive feedback. Kind of why I never joined SDN until AFTER my internship apps were all in because of all the stressing I knew was happening in those application threads :)

    Also, just too many words everywhere. Give bullet points. Outlines. Work on being succinct; that skill will serve you well in grad school (though I obviously haven't mastered that yet given the length of this post).

    The powerpoint really makes it seem like this is the result of a project for a research methods class proposal, so I'd nix that all together. And finally, you say "There are, fortunately, several helpful resources that people who graduated from an APA accredited program, or already are students in one, have written to help this population, but there is limited help originating from the population itself." If i were a prospective applicant, why would I want advice from people who have not yet been successful, when I could get advice from people who have been successful (maybe even after a round or two of rejections, as some SDN members have shared)? If your main aim is the social support, why not put a facebook link on your webpage- and at the very beginning where it is super obvious? That's pretty easy to do. A facebook page with links to helpful info in the "about" section could serve the same purpose as your website and would do away with the parts that seem to turn people off (e.g., the powerpoint/grief talk).

    It's a good idea in theory, though the website seems superfluous- seems more appropriate for facebook group only. Think of this feedback on this forum as the type of "revise and resubmit" feedback you'll get from journal manuscript reviewers when you get to grad school :) Good idea in theory; here's how you can make it better! Good luck with your own admissions process.
     
  20. foreverbull

    foreverbull

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    I'm thinking you may not have had many replies initially because the majority of people viewing your thread aren't applicants, but psychologists/psychology grad students who don't necessarily need support for that specific issue.

    Also, be careful what you ask for in here! Keep in mind that SDN can attract extreme opinions at times, no matter how politically correct and socially adept you may pride yourself on being. Asking a bunch of anonymous people why they didn't respond to your initial post (even when worded nicely) can open the door to some interesting responses. I'm sure you never anticipated the type/amount of feedback you'd get when you poked the beehive with a stick.... ;)

    As others have mentioned, a thread in this forum is probably sufficient for your needs, and you can connect more personally with responders via creating an email chain, etc. Best of luck connecting with the people you're hoping to connect with!
     
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  21. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I don't think anyone on this thread was remotely close to being "beehive-like." OP asked for feedback; the initial lack of response may have been because people glanced at it and didn't want to come off negatively. Then OP asked again, so people provided a bunch of useful feedback. Being told how to improve a product, particularly after asking for feedback, is not a personal attack.
     
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  22. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Thank you all for the feedback! I'm happy to keep this conversation going, and please do keep replying.

    I understand how my emphasis on the grief/loss aspect may be off-putting to some website viewers (whether rejected applicants or not) when it comes to a graduate school admissions support group, but I also think it could be relief for some people who've been rejected. It's the people who feel bad about rejection I want to be sure to help, but I want to help applicants who don't feel upset, too! By emphasizing grief/loss, it could be a way to show applicants who have been rejected that it is ok to feel bad about not being admitted to graduate school when being admitted was and is a big deal to them. Feelings after being rejected from graduate school can be described as a kind of grief, I think, because grief doesn't have to be thought of in extreme terms or always in comparison with bereavement. I've been reading a lot on the subject of grief/loss, and that's how I've come to learn this, but you're right, an initial glance at the website for people who have not been reading/thinking a lot about grief/loss could think of the website as it now stands (without further explanation on what grief/loss has to do with anything - besides being explained in the PowerPoint) as an unnecessarily sad way of thinking...when the group is about support. When people think of support they may tend to think of positive and light/upbeat forms of help. Support is about this, and it can be about getting through the bad times, too. Both are good reasons to seek out support.

    The PowerPoint about grief/loss is my attempt to provide some educational information about the subject of grief/loss, not to be condescending, but to provide information that people happen to not know about in contexts other than death-related because they haven't been exposed to it. Sure, the PowerPoint is also intended to indicate that my reading a lot about a subject I'm interested in is a good thing. A little self-respect and promotion is not a bad thing, and it's not the same thing as my website being based in vanity rather than about helping others. It's not either-or.

    So you have a better idea of who I am, grief/loss is so valuable to me because of its emphasis on relationships. I care about relating well with people, I know others do too, and so when relationships don't work out well for whatever reason, I see how it can be a loss that hurts. I don't want people feeling hurt and alone in their pain. Support is the opposite of being alone. That's why I like grief/loss and social support in general, and I want to focus on it in graduate school, so I'd prefer to keep it as the name of the website. I do want to put out a better description like this, why grief/loss interests me, on the website, though.

    Putting the point about a Facebook group sooner is great advice! I'm going to do this. I set the website so that comments can be posted, so the website can be interactive, but maybe the comments are turned off?

    I think putting a sentence about how others are encouraged to email me with articles, videos, or anything they want to post on the website is good to do, too. It's mainly my material right now b/c no one emailed me saying post this or that. Probably because of the reasons you outlined above, which again, I thank you for, and maybe because I don't have a sentence anywhere explaining this is what I intend to happen.

    I'm not trying to compete with SDN. I want so much to put SDN in a section like Related Websites or something, but I don't know if advertising it is allowed, and I haven't had time to check into whether it was allowed or not, so I kept it simple and just didn't mention it on the website yet.

    Thanks for pointing out the related threads listed below. I really only read the psychology forum, so I hadn't come across these.

    I can't figure out how to make the "text widget" or "example of except" titles go away, and I've been playing around with the website for awhile now. I want to see if I can get these removed, but my main focus is still the meat of the website, it's content rather than its fine-tuning. Still, I appreciate whatever feedback you'd like to provide.

    All this being said, what are your thoughts?

    ~Sharewithme
     
  23. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I would recommend reading the CISD literature. Sometimes our best intentions can have unintended consequences.
     
  24. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Thank you for the concern WisNeuro. From what I can read about Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (aka CISD), the technique is for helping people who've suffered traumatic experiences: http://www.info-trauma.org/flash/media-f/mitchellCriticalIncidentStressDebriefing.pdf. That's the link to a free article I found through google that gives a good intro to what CISD is. I wouldn't call graduate school rejection traumatic, but it can hurt, a lot. I don't think CISD really applies unless we're talking about potential support group members who are already suffering from other traumatic experiences or co-morbid conditions. In that case, I'm not currently qualified to treat people dealing with traumatic symptoms or psychological disorders, and I list my credentials on the About page of the website, so people know what I can and can't help with.
     
  25. jmiah717

    jmiah717

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    I think the point was less about CISD in particular than it was about "helping" sometimes having unintended and unforeseen consequences.
     
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  26. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Thank you jmaiah. In that case I think that helping sometimes having intended (bad) consequences is not a reason to not offer any kind of help. Just about everything could have unintended negative consequences. I really like your attention and care, too, though.
     
  27. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    I appreciate your sensitivity and care, too, jmiah717. I don't think helping sometimes having unintended (bad) consequences is a good reason not to offer any kind of help. Just about anything could have unforeseen and negative consequences.
     
  28. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    I'm not really familiar with grief being used as a way of helping people through things that are changeable. You grieve a death, or a loss of a limb or a sense organ or something. Grief in this way seems like if you're on a walk and your friend fell off a cliff and then you grieve that they fell, but they're grabbing onto a rock four feet down and you could grab them. So you sit down and cry and listen to some music and then they eventually lose their grip and actually fall. So here, I'm not catching how engaging with a prolonged grief process is better than getting in gear and starting immediately to work on your application for the next round. i.e., how is a grief model superior to a solution-focused model?
     
  29. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I think the point is being missed with my CISD comments. It wasn't about trauma per se. It was about pathologizing something that is normal. As MCP says, labeling it grief, can lead to certain expectations about recovery and introduces iatrogenic benefits. CISD is just a part of the iatrogenic literature. You can also look at the old "I suddenly remember being molested under hypnosis" epidemic, and the current epidemic of people with "PCS" following a mild uncomplicated head injury.

    There is nothing wrong with offering help (e.g., what to do next, ways to beef up your CV, etc), but as MCP and others have implied, if you keep telling someone how terrible a generally benign event is, they will start interpreting that event in an unnatural way, introducing negative iatrogenic consequences. I'm with MCP, go with the solution focused model and drop the grief process. It trivializes real grief and will only make people feel worse than the normal trajectory of dealing with a stressful life event.
     
  30. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    Thanks. I like that we're having this conversation because grief, as I'm learning, has many meanings and interpretations. People are going to interpret events differently, and what is seen as terrible (for whatever reasons) to some may seem like a stressful life event to others. This brief blog article explains it well: Grief Counseling by any other name… . I can see how people can view graduate school rejection from both angles. It is nice to support people who have the mindset that rejection is a stressful life event, but at the same time, it's also nice to support people who have the mindset that rejection may mean something more to them. It's about acknowledging and validating thoughts and feelings as much as it's about coming up with solutions. Both are important. Ending it on the solution focus note is good, though, I agree.
     
  31. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center 5+ Year Member

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    It doesn't explain anything except that one person's definition of grief has expanded to encompass reactions to 43 things that otherwise fall on a questionnaire about "stressful life events." Not coincidentally, this person is someone who sells "Grief Recovery Method Certification" for a living.

    By this person's definition you can also experience grief in reaction to getting married or celebrating Christmas: Over 40 life experiences you might have that cause grief

    I can validate a person's distress without co-signing their thought process. Healthy coping often means letting go of some of the catastrophic labels we give to our experiences.
     
  32. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy 2+ Year Member

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    the website also includes "outstanding personal achievement" and "revision of personal habits." Skeptical that "grief" is an appropriate label for these either, at least a response to the degree counting as "grief" is certainly not a typical or healthy response.

    Edit: referring to the website link shared above by MamaPhD, not the one originally posted by OP in the very beginning of this thread leading to their blog.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  33. jmiah717

    jmiah717

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    Disappointment and grief are not the same thing. If one experiences disappointment as the same as grief, he or she may need more than this support group to help them. You can't grieve something you didn't have in the first place. Yes, people experience grief differently and often in unique ways. That does not mean that grief and disappointment are the same thing. I'm confused why you're still barking up this tree even after all of the feedback you received. Maybe simply a graduate application workgroup Facebook page or thread suffices for improving applications for people? Maybe something to build resilience would help if these folks are truly thinking they are grieving the temporary "loss" of a goal that is not in any way guaranteed. Maybe simply looking at the stats and recognizing that it's really hard to get into these programs and just trying hard, being smart, etc, doesn't mean you'll get in. Expectations- be real about them. Nobody is entitled or deserves to be a psychologist. Not everyone that does everything right will get In.

    I just try to imagine if I had a patient who was dealing with this. Would we work on grief? Would we talk about the stages of grief and how sad they are about not getting in? I'd validate the disappointment but we would sure figure out what's next. Changing plans and learning that life does not always cooperate is pretty important. Cut bait or try again....


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  34. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy 2+ Year Member

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    I think the point others have tried to make above is that you can acknowledge disappointment without labeling it grief, which most would argue would be a misnomer and possibly harmful label anyway. If someone is experiencing a response to not getting into grad school that truly borders on GRIEF, vs. disappointment, I'd wager they are not in an emotionally stable enough state to be starting grad school in the first place and need to work on their resilience before even thinking about applying again, because they're going to need that level of "dust yourself off and figure out the next step" early and often in grad school.
     
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  35. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist 10+ Year Member

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    I too have never conceptualized "grief" as applying to mourning something that you never actually had. I agree, this issue is better labeled as "disappointment" and in some cases simply vanity/vainglory.

    Life often requires one to be flexible and to practice acceptance.
     
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  36. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy 2+ Year Member

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    OP, looks like you've made a few changes to your blog and it is a little less grief-language heavy up front which is good (it's still further down on the page but not immediately upon goign to the page and I'm not going to go into critiquing that here/now), and you've added/removed some things I think, based on feedback, which is cool. But mainly my reason for this post is I came across this on your site: "Here’s the winner of bad advise: “You haven’t gotten in to graduate school in psychology yet, so there may be something wrong with your own head. Did you ever go for therapy?,”" and I am dying to know... is this a real thing that someone actually said!? Good luck with your own apps.
     
  37. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    As I like to begin, thank you all. I'm serious.

    Yes, singasongofjoy, that was a real thing said.

    I'm curious, not to sound rude I really wonder (and I know singasongofjoy you weren't being rude stating you were curious), are there any applicants or people planning to apply to doctoral programs in psychology reading this discussion? Are there any counseling psychologists or students in counseling psychology doctoral programs who are reading this discussion?

    I think this next bit covers most of what was written above. It can be argued that whenever there is a loss there is grief, but the way that grief looks differs from person to person. If we acknowledge that grief follows loss, I think looking into instrumental and intuitive grief becomes relevant to what we're discussing. I'm basing what follows on work by Kenneth Doka. Instrumental grievers take the approach of action-based responses to loss. Like jmiah717 wrote, "cut bait or try again". Instrumental grievers don't feel as easily as intuitive grievers do, so they simply don't think to describe their experience much with emotional terms. Disappointment is a feeling, but I don't think it's a word that people associate with a lot of feeling. Instrumental grievers have feelings, because people do, they just don't speak in terms of them as easily as intuitive grievers do.

    Intuitive grievers have a knack for feeling deeply, so that's how they respond to loss. They can make sensible decisions and be able to function, eat well, sleep well, exercise, go to work, etc. immediately after a loss, but they are healthy and happy to express their emotions and oftentimes this means sharing with others when grieving, too. Instrumental grievers really don't see the point in doing the sharing feelings with others thing.

    Neither an instrumental nor intuitive grieving preference in itself is bad. Ph.D. training emphasizes training in thinking, and getting emotional (or having the ability to emote deeply) has a bad rap in graduate school become it's often thought of in terms of attrition. It doesn't follow that because someone feels a lot, in one way or another (anxiety and passion are both feelings), they cannot perform well academically (e.g. ace tests, write and publish papers, conduct research, etc.). It seems to me that students in Ph.D. programs who have and demonstrate emotional intelligence of various kinds just isn't the scenario that we're most familiar with. We know "being emotional", as opposed to having emotion perhaps, can be immature, and so that's what we remember.

    Most people are not purely instrumental grievers or intuitive grievers, they can and do express themselves in both ways, yet most people do lean towards one style more than the other. There are people at more extreme ends of the instrumental-intuitive continuum, too.

    I keep barking up this tree because I don't know as much as I want to about grief/loss yet. I get excited at the thought of learning more! I can't learn more if I shove the subject aside. I could make a clearer statement on the website how grief/loss is my research and practice interest, and graduate school rejection is a loss, and so that's the reason posts about grief/loss are found. Also, I think it's too extreme to say that graduate school rejection should not at all be thought of as grief. That it should not be thought of as grief seems to be what's being implied. The response to the loss of attending graduate school can mean something more than disappointment to people who have invested an enormous amount of preparation, planning, and time into it. This being the case, and stating this is the case, is not pathology. No matter how evident it is that admission is not guaranteed, when people lose someone or something that is valuable (like the opportunity of admissions acceptance), it hurts and is a problem to be solved (not one or the other). That's how I see it.
     
  38. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad 2+ Year Member

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    The entire thesis of this thread is that loss does not equate to grief. It seems you interpret this as something that should be accepted. You seem as though you are so invested in this idea that you aren't examining if there is support for it or open to the idea that there isn't. People aren't debating you on this, they're telling you that you're wrong. They're informing you because you don't seem to know the literature, even if you think you do.

    If this approach of yours is because you want to keep the theme of your website, go for it. But this is an approach to knowledge which, borrowing from your statement above, is 'not instrumental' during graduate level training. I suggest you be open to reconsidering this approach to ideas. Grief is not every loss/disappointment. Trauma is not every bad thing. Etc.
     
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  39. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Is their emotional reaction a result of being rejected, or a result of irrational beliefs about being rejected?
    I agree w @Justanothergrad; you're perseverating on an approach that doesn't really make sense.
     
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  40. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Also, please see the CISD research about what happens when we pathologies normal emotional reactions. For the love of FSM.
     
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  41. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Stupid autocorrect, pathologize
     
  42. psych.meout

    psych.meout

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    I will be attending a clinical psych PhD program in the fall and I previously applied to more than one cycle. I know it sucks to not receive any offers of admission, especially when you really like a program, the faculty, the current students, etc. That said, we shouldn't overpathologize this loss or rejection as "grief." It's doesn't help applicants deal with their feelings, nor does it help them make choices and changes that can improve their chances of gaining admission the next time around. I also think it's unhelpful for their clinical training, as it encourages them to apply this overpathologizing behavior to the patients they will eventually assess and treat.

    You can argue that the Earth is flat, but that does not mean it's true. You need some kind of empirical evidence to back up these claims. Again, this is teaching bad habits to applicants and future students by focusing on what they believe and feel, rather than focusing on what the research and evidence support.

    Without getting into a huge discussion about grief research, I think you're missing the point here. Again, you're making an assumption that all forms of loss are grief without establishing the basis for this claim. And as Erg pointed out, it's also probably not appropriate to conceptualize the "loss" of something you didn't actually have. There was a potential opportunity for something, in this case being attending a doctoral program, but being denied that opportunity is not really a loss. The degree of disappointment may depend on the person, but we shouldn't overpathologize the disappointment as grief simply, because one person is not reacting to the denial as well as other people.

    Think about it in another context. You get one date with a person to whom you're very attracted, but they decline to have a relationship with you. Would you consider this a "loss" that is something to have grief over?

    Huh? Where are you getting this from? Are you seriously suggesting that it's uncommon for students in clinical or counseling PhD programs to have "emotional intelligence?"

    Grad students have emotions and feel as "deeply (however you operationalize that)" as anyone else. What you're not understanding is that a core part of clinical training is the balance of empathy with objectivity, maturity, and professionalism. Grad programs want students to have the resiliency to overcome the significant adversity that graduate training entails. E.g. if you have this much "grief" about being denied admission during one cycle, how utterly destroyed will you be during the internship match process?

    Do you not see the irony in conflating disappointment with grief here while derisively talking about grad programs in this manner? Even if you are correct in this judgment of their perceptions, do you not see how you are reifying their concerns that certain students don't possess the resiliency and maturity for grad school and were rightly rejected?
     
  43. foreverbull

    foreverbull

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    Do you see what I meant about poking the beehive with a stick?

    I graduated from a counseling psychology program.

    Fair enough; sounds like you're summarizing Doka's theory.

    Here's where you lost me. I disagree that Ph.D. programs set out to pathologize having emotions or deep feelings, and many of us experienced plenty of intense emotions throughout the program and did fine, namely because we didn't have a lot of emotional reactivity outwardly toward others, which I think is what you're getting at in terms of being seen as problematic. My program taught that emotions are healthy; you just need to monitor your reactions and develop more advanced skills in deciding how to express them (if at all), particularly with clients, but also in general. I did research on emotional intelligence of counselors (both doctoral trainees in my program and master's students, and later, sampled APA-accredited PH.D. programs across the country). I found that there was a spectrum (a bell curve, as we would expect), just like in every other setting, of people who know their emotions well and value them, down to people who see emotions as pointless and lean toward emotional shut down.
    Bowen, a family systems theorist, discussed differentiation of self, which essentially says that we have to have a healthy balance of independence/emotional distancing and interdependence/emotional contact, and contains the aspects of I-Position, Emotional Reactivity, Emotional Cutoff, and Fusion with others. My advisor loved Bowen, and in my program, we learned that extremes in emotional reactions AND extreme lack thereof are both problematic for therapists and both are signs of poor differentiation. We can over-identify with clients and become fused or highly emotionally reactive, or underidentify/shut down emotionally and emotionally distance ourselves to the point of lacking empathy (Emotional Cutoff). Neither is a good place to be. My predissertation and dissertation were based on this concept, and I've read a lot of the emotional intelligence literature.

    So I'm not sure why you're saying that Ph.D. students demonstrating emotional intelligence "isn't the scenario we're most familiar with." Like I said, emotional intelligence is a spectrum, and people in psychology doctoral programs mirror the bell curve. Have you personally seen professors pathologize emotions and think that this is standard? I just wonder why you think Ph.D. programs discourage experiencing emotions. Again, it sounds like you're speaking about emotional reactions rather than experiencing emotions themselves, perhaps?

    Just to offer a different perspective on your experience, from personal experience and from observation of others, when we become attached to an idea or expectation, we experience suffering when it doesn't come to fruition. The more attached to the idea you are, the harder it will be to adapt if it doesn't work out (i.e. the more suffering you experience). This is from life experience and a little Buddhist philosophy that I've seen play out in my own life and in the lives of clients I've worked with. Can we call it grief and loss? Obviously some people in here say no, but I don't really care either way. The reality is, the stronger the attachment to the goal/idea, the worse we feel when it doesn't work out. According to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is basically Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy condensed into a counseling theory (and an evidence-based approach used in VAs), inflexibility in thinking leads to depression and anxiety because we get set on ideas of what we want out of life and have trouble adapting to a life outside of the box of our expectations and wants. I think what you and other students who are not accepted into a doctoral program are experiencing is part of this phenomenon. In short, being strongly attached to an outcome we want makes the suffering real when the outcome doesn't happen. I see this all the time and it feels bad to experience ourselves...it's the "but it was supposed to happen..what now?" shock. It's tough, for sure.
     
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  44. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    I like what you're all writing. I just want it clear I'm not trying to start any fights and never was. What my point is is that grief can be applied to death and non-death losses. Being rejected from graduate school is a loss. For some people it hurts more than others based on a variety of factors. Supporting people and letting them feel what they feel is helpful. If applicants (I don't have a number in mind right now) tell me to get all information about grief off the website because it has made them feel unnecessarily bad to think about their graduate school rejections (if they've had them) in terms of grief, in terms of anything that comes with literature on grief, to them that very word is harmful, then I will. Otherwise, I'm going to leave it. You did what I asked and provided your thoughts, and I'm grateful.
     
  45. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I'll just end my contributions with another plea that you look at the CISD lit. As a person with extensive experience in the trauma research world and treatment, it's important to understand how we can unwittingly cause iatrogenic harm when we think we are helping someone.
     
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  46. ClinicalABA

    ClinicalABA 5+ Year Member

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    Given recent events, you might want to rethink the first link in your "Music For Wellness" section. Are you really sure that you want to direct people going through a difficult time to listen to a song called "Numb" sung by a man who just committed suicide? What reason do you have to think this will be helpful?

    Seriously- if you're going to hold yourself out there to the public as being helpful, you need to make sure that it is. Lists of songs? Links to stuff on birthstones? You need to be careful for your own sake- this is all associated with your real name, and can be reviewed by graduate admission committees and mentor faculty. You're telling people going through a difficult time to listen to nu metal and suggesting they think about time "in terms of their birthstones." I'm not sure that makes sense.

    Also, on your "about" page one of you is offering to review personal statements and other applications materials, yet your site contains many grammatical and proofreading errors, as well as some confusing style. See the problem there?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017 at 5:13 AM
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  47. Sharewithme

    Sharewithme

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    I get it. Thanks.

    I just saw the tragic news. It's terrible that Chester Bennington thought this was his only solution. I removed the song because I agree keeping it in there wouldn't go with the support theme.

    I'm taking time to note that the grief/loss theme is included on the website for the purpose of acknowledging and validating experiences people may have had with rejections. Acknowledgment and validation are under the support umbrella. Posts by people who have felt really bad after being rejected from graduate school can be found on this forum. It happens. I know whether or not to call the pain, sadness, anger, etc. grief has been debated throughout this thread, but it needs commented upon, and I'm choosing to call it grief. The grief/loss inclusions on the website are also there because grief/loss is an interest of mine. Students interests can change in graduate school. However, if I can go to graduate school to study grief/loss, I don't see my interest changing much. Other people may feel this way with their own research interests as they apply. I think dedication and interest in a subject area as an applicant needs to be seen. Information pertaining to grief/loss can be seen on the website. You didn't comment on anything related to grief/loss and the website, I just thought now was a good time to put this in.

    With the birthstones link I was trying to keep with the happy and fun part of supporting others. Birthstones are something everyone has, and this link focused on the positives that can be thought to come with a person based on their date of birth. Still, yes, featuring this in the Time section was more entertaining and maybe uplifting than relevant. I put in instead other information about what applicants can be thinking about and doing right now in terms of their applications. It's a better fit.

    I want to emphasize that although sometimes I think the tone of this thread is a little harsh, I also think what you in general are doing providing feedback is helpful. The website is going to help more applicants because we're having this discussion.

    I contacted my friend and colleague about the About page.
     
  48. MCParent

    MCParent Bronze Donor 5+ Year Member

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    You asked for advice about your web site. You actually asked twice, probably because people didn't want to kill your buzz with mostly constructive feedback. You now appear taken aback. If what you wanted was adulations and congratulations for your site, there are probably other places to go for a hug box. What you got was cumulative decades of experience from people who got into grad school (many times after applying more than once--I got in on the second go), putting undergrads through the process, selecting applicants from the pool, and seeing characteristics of grad students who thrive and who struggle. Yet, you perseverate in what is honestly a poorly informed approach that does not appear to be optimally helpful and may actually be harmful.

    It doesn't matter that grief is your interest. We don't go around forcing every issue or concern into our existing schemas for helping people. Square holes and round pegs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017 at 9:00 PM

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