One year
has passed.. what a year! Since my previous blog early July 2011 much has taken
place internally and externally not to mention on the national and
international arena. The thread of my doctoral journey is steadily being woven
even though the thread has been dangerously fragile at times.

After dispatching
four papers with deadline end July 2011, all part of completing the Research Module,
having survived the emotional devastation of the massacre of 22nd
July, I patiently and nervously waited for the results.

Meanwhile I
decided to participate at the ISAM (International Society for Addiction
Medicine) conference in Oslo early
September and learnt a lot about addiction medicine, but also the life of a
researcher and the mentality and social codes of that particular universe of researchers.
Central interpersonal unspoken themes seemed to consist of ‘achievements’, ‘quantitative research’, ‘titles’,
‘positions’, ‘positioning’ and ‘networking’. I did my little share of
networking and had the pleasure of connecting with Norwegian and Israeli researchers
within my field of interest which was hugely inspiring.

End September
2011 I received the verdict. I had passed on 3 out of 4 papers. The fourth
received the dreaded result; ‘resubmission’. Shock! Now I had only one
opportunity to improve it. I tried to pull myself together and started the tedious
work of rewriting. I was well into the process when my father suffered a severe
cardiac arrest in mid November. The studies were paused as my care and attention
went to him. Miraculously he recovered and had a heart surgery the day before Christmas.
I resumed my studies the last week of December 2011 and went back to days with
up to 16 hours of study work. On New Years Eve I closed my computer at 01.30 am
as I had finished the next version of the ‘Draft Research Proposal’ and sent it
to my academic adviser. I soon had it returned with challenging feedback and more
work to do. When it was finally submitted end May 2012 I think I had rewritten
it 5 times. When it left my tired hands I felt I had done everything –
everything I was capable of and that I had done my utmost. If I did not pass
this time I felt I would have to accept that I was not worthy of being a
candidate, but at least I had given it my best.

Parallel to
studying and running my private practice, I was working in closed psychiatric
ward which had been extremely challenging. This was partly due to the nature of
the work itself but also due to reorganization amongst the 6 psychiatric units at
the hospital causing uncertainty and unpredictability for the staff. This has
caused great distress for me the last year and added to the pressure. Currently
the universe seems to signal that it is time for me to move on to something
else, and so I welcome new opportunities.

The
International Psychosynthesis Conference in Rome, Italy in June 2012 has been a
welcome source of inspiration and a wonderful opportunity to meet old and new
colleagues and friends. It reconfirmed what I have felt so many times; I love
psychosynthesis! Simple as that! At the conference I got the opportunity to
present my research idea which was met with curiosity and enthusiasm.

End June 2012
I finally got the result of my resubmission and was congratulated on having
passed the ‘Draft Research Proposal’ which was the last piece to complete the
first part of the doctoral program, the Research Module. What a relief! All the
blood, sweat and tears were worth it! I made it!!

Now the
third year is soon approaching and so is the next deadline coming up mid
October. Next on the agenda is completing the ‘Learning Agreement’ which is a
detailed project plan for conducting the intended research and demonstrating the
level of sophistication expected in doing so. This is to be handed in by 19th
October and a few weeks later to be presented orally to the Program Approval
Panel with representatives from Middlesex University in London. So, got to get
my acts together and do the work!

The
research focus has organically been developing in the prolongation of my
interest and fascination with the paradox of the personal will versus a so
called ‘higher will’ in substance use disorder and treatment, and so the
formulation of my research focus is currently:

“A
phenomenological exploration of the lived experience of surrendering to a
Higher Power in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step treatment of Substance Use Disorder.”

To be
continued..

Wishing you
a great summer,

Saphira