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PhD group supervision, 25.10.08 (my challenges about ‘language’)

Saturday, October 25th, 2008 @ 12:34 pm
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Posted in  Language, Reflexivity, Supervision

We had another very ‘rich’ morning today during PhD group supervision, where everybody brings their own research process or questions/dilemmas around our Phds at this moment in time. When my turn came in the group and as i was talking to them, i realised that i am facing the following layes of challenge in terms of language and ‘finding the words for’ in my PhD:

– I am researching a topic about an experience that my participants find hard to find the words for

– many concepts in my research (like ‘culture’, ‘difference’, what are the boundaries between counselling/psychotherapy/counselling psychology and so on) are highly debatable around what they mean, how they could be defined or how they are differently understood in different contexts, in different countries, in different positionings etc…..so, how i use such terms in my writing and what is meant when i use them is also challenging, i sense i constantly have to be ‘careful’ or constantly explaining

– i am writing this PhD in a second language. this matter has not been an issue for me so far……..but i do feel that it is so demanding of me to be attempting to write rigorously and correctly about a topic that is often ‘beyond words’ , something that even native speakers find hard to articulate or find words for….and do that in a second language! Goodness me!!!!

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One Comment for
“PhD group supervision, 25.10.08 (my challenges about ‘language’)”


  1. Ah, It reminds me of my own PhD was about spiritual healing and both these words ‘spiritual’ and ‘healing’ were used in a range of different ways and of course the experience was beyond words – ineffable. So either the whole thing is impossible :), or you are dealing with some extrordinary important human experience that is not something easy to define and measure. I think anthroplogy not psychology has the best hope opr maybe even the skills of archeology!

    Good luck William


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