After having returned from a wonderfully spring warm and sunny March London having received approval of my project plan or so called Learning Agreement and crossed the bridge to the final part of the doctorate, writing this next post comes with much joy and gratitude.

approaching one year since my last post the process has moved along
significantly. Life was up for a personal transition the last year,
relocating me to a new home and moving my private psychotherapy practice to a different location. These transitions are
amongst other blessings that have entered my life this year. I had a
sense that 2013 had something exciting up the sleeve for me but still it took
me by surprise.

Now well
back into the doctorate I am sooo happy to find myself at a point where I am
launching into the 2nd and last module of the doctorate and will shortly be doing the actual research. It has been a long and arduous journey
but the research project plan or so called Learning Agreement has finally been
accepted by Middlesex
University / Metanoia
Institute. This constitutes the long awaited ‘green light’ to do research. The
working title of my doctoral research and development project is:

investigation of the dynamics of the personal will

a Higher Power in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

treatment of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

I am so
eager to continue I find it hard to sit still. The excitement that made me
apply for the doctorate in the first place (2010) has resurfaced and I can’t
wait to conduct the interviews and dive into the data and start the actual analysis which will
be such an interesting journey of discovery. I am absolutely fascinated by the
phenomenon of the will and especially related to 12-step treatment and program of substance abuse.
Now, why is this?

Well, there
is little research found connected to the paradoxical phenomenon found in AA
and 12-step treatment of ‘surrender’ signifying the shift from ‘willfulness’ to ‘willingness’. Even if there have been developed
measurement devices by researchers to measure the degree of surrender or degrees of spiritual transformation at different stages of treatment to predict
relapse, almost noone has gone in depth with how this relates to the dynamics of
the personal will in treatment of SUD in this context.

I would
think it is rather central and important to understand more about how our will
works related to substance abuse treatment. Some of the questions I pose are the
following: What are the
psychological mechanisms present with the perceived idea of giving a benevolent
force authority over one’s personal will? What are the dynamics of the will
resulting from the perceived idea of an external or internal power taking
authority? What knowledge can be derived from the lived experience of deciding
to surrender one’s will and life to a higher power (AA 3rd step)? If I decide to
surrender my will, who in me is making the decision?

I have
chosen a qualitative approach and use phenomenological methodology. I will
shortly collect data through in depth interviews with eight participants and then start analyzing the
data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Gosh, I’ve been longing to
get here…

So ‘In
Depth Interviews’ is the next stop on the doctoral express train towards my final

The Viva
in London 2015 (viva in Norwegian: disputas)

Till next time – enjoy spring!

Picture taken in London 7th March 2014

(top photo; Embankment skyline, London)