Sunday, October 28, 2007

The ScotCon Research Community

Entry to 28 October 2007:

ScotCon, the Scottish Consortium for Psychotherapy and Counselling Research, has several functions, including organizing Scottish SPR meetings, and coordinating research efforts at various Scottish universities. Now we are adding two new functions: a research support group and a series of conferences on single case research methods.

Last Thursday was the first real meeting of the ScotCon Research Community. Mick, whose idea it was to do this, was out of town, so Brian Rodgers and I were caught a bit by surprise, when we were suddenly confronted with a diverse collection of 22 diverse MSc, Counselling Doctorate, and Research PhD students. (We had been expecting the usual 6 – 10 MSc students, and hadn’t really taken on board the idea that most of the other people that Mick had invited would actually show up.) Looking around the full room, my first impulse was to panic: How can we possibly meet the needs of all these different people? Then I took a deep breath, and said, “OK! Welcome to our Research Community! Our goal here is to create a way of working together that will work for us, and meet your research needs.”

We then went around the room, each of us spending a minute or so reporting in on our current state of progress on our research projects. (I was very grateful that Mick had previously negotiated us down from the 5 min each that I had preferred, or we would have been there all night…) There were 9 beginning-level MSc students, working on their ethics proposals; 3 advanced level MSc students, collecting and analyzing their data; 7 first year Counselling Psychology Doctorate students, still bright and bushy-tailed even after a day of classes and anxious about their ethics proposals; two research PhD students; and a sabbatical visiting scholar (Mikio).

We then split up into two groups: About 15 came along to hear what I had to say about research ethics and Strathclyde’s ethics review process, while the rest stayed in the main room with Brian to do a workshop on how to analyze Tiane’s interview data on ethics in the Person-Centred Approach. I guess it was Ethics Night!

Then it was back downstairs again for the Scottish SPR meeting, featuring the Aberdeen Early Trauma research group. At the end of the evening, after a very stimulating presentation from Linda Treliving et al., Brian and I walked back to the train station. We felt exhausted but pleased at how the day had gone. We don’t know how the new Research Community will evolve over the coming months, but it certainly seemed like a good beginning.

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