Taking time out for academics

In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t been writing blog entries, thought I’d let you know I’m working on my thesis.  (Finally.)  Apparently the students who get a master’s degree in school psychology take their classes, do their intern work, and for their final project put together a portfolio of their work — and they get to be called School Psychologists.  Meanwhile, the students who get a masters degree in counseling also attend two year’s worth of classes and do their intern work, BUT  they have to do a research project and write a thesis (about 50-90 pages, give or take) — and that’s only to graduate!  After that they still have to put in 3,000 hours of intern work and pass a written exam, then they get to be called Marriage-Family Therapists.  (This is in California.)  

I’m actually very good at writing reports; I did my first term paper between 6th and 7th grade, on Greek and Roman mythology.  Yet for some reason this Thesis has been a real pain.  I think it is because the professors at Humboldt State University get very uneasy when you mention anything that might fit into the “New Age” category.  They talk a lot about the scientist-practitioner model.  The things that interest me most are on the edge between New Age and proven (to death) techniques.  Life begins where things meet (as in shorelines).  We had a research class that encouraged us to think outside the box and look at things in new ways, but apparently my “new ways” were a little too “out there.”  I had a difficult time finding a Thesis topic they would approve and that held some interest for me.

Then, of course, Life happened.  Our son went to Iraq.  My husband was getting toxic feedback from his job (which he finally quit).  Obviously Life wasn’t in a hurry for me to get my Thesis done.

Things have finally come together (and I’ll have to start repaying student loans in a matter of months), so am devoting myself to working on the Thesis.  About five years ago some undergrads at HSU studied the correlation between tattooing and self-harming behavior, and unfortunately found a significant correlation.  I suspect a flawed survey, and at the time the results made a variety of people with tattoos (including myself) rather unhappy.  Unfortunately much of the psychological literature of a couple years ago still supported that correlation.  So I decided to work with a larger, more general population, and see if I can disprove that idea.

To that end, I have two hypotheses:

“Tattooed participants will report significantly higher levels of deliberate self-harm behavior than reported in previous studies in the general population.”   And,

“A significant proporation of the participants will choose ‘I like the sensation of getting tattoed’ as one of their motivations for getting tattooed.”

I am hoping to disprove these hypotheses.  Am designing a survey that includes a measure for assessment of self-harming bevior, and a question regarding motivation (and some other stuff).  For now I am still in the literature review stage, reading a lot about the history of tattoos and current studies, and the history of and studies about self-harming behavior.  Actually, am glad I waited this long, because in the past couple years there have been more studies that question and even disprove the old psychological idea that people with tattoos are pathological deviants.  (Yep, some of those old studies make my blood boil.)  Am hoping to write about some of my reading here (eventually), because it is fascinating.

Meanwhile, I’m taking time out to begin my Thesis.  Wish me luck!  🙂


About judithornot

Lives in semi-rural Northern California, happily married, retired counselor, night person, knits, plays WoW.
This entry was posted in Mental Health, Random thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Taking time out for academics

  1. barb says:

    I’d wish you luck with your thesis, but I know you don’t need it. You are a smart, talented woman with loads of talent and commitment. You’re going to write a wonderful thesis; and you will graduate and become a fabulous licensed counselor. You are already a fabulous UNlicensed counselor!


  2. Definitely do write us and tell us what you find. Our enthusiasm for this interesting topic may help give you little bits of motivation just when you need them 🙂 I’m looking forward to you getting past this part and into the real stuff, because I know you’ll be good!


  3. Janice says:

    I have a large tattoo (most of my back) it’s not finished, because I HATE getting tattoooed!
    I have to do short bursts because of the pain.


  4. coppermoon says:

    I do wish you luck but since you already have the brains and the impetus to get it done, I know you will succeed. Like Barb said, “you are already a fabulous UNlicensed counselor!”


  5. judithornot says:

    Thanks for the encouragement! The lit review is taking longer than I’d hoped, so I may not make May graduation. But I’m working on it! Will try to post another entry in a couple weeks. And Janice, thanks for your comment. 🙂 I’ve never heard anyone with tattoos be quite that definite about hating the process.


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