What to do when things go wrong: using challenges, messiness and discomfort as resource

Instead of rushing to ‘fix’ problems and/or ignoring difficulties, participants will be guided in this workshop to find ways to accept and engage with the more uncomfortable moments of research. This could include occasions when things go wrong, personal or family problems, etc. and to engage them as helpful resources within the research journey.

This session will feature a mix of whole group discussions, small group (peer-led) discussions and a substantial teaching component. The workshop will explore the following subjects:

  • Clarifying the aims and often messy processes of doctoral research
  • How messiness in the PhD can ultimately be beneficial
  • The Next Moment Method, for addressing difficult situations with greater ease and uplift – this comprises a simple practice that recentres attention on personal agency and the ability to make a new, more helpful decision or select a ‘better-feeling’ thought in each moment
  • Journaling / meditation prompts for working through blocks

Participants will also be encouraged to discuss problems they are currently facing or which they anticipate at later stages of their PhD; and to brainstorm possible solutions and alternative approaches with each other.

This peer-led practice draws on participants’ collective experiences and wisdom, and offers them reassurance that they are not alone in dealing with challenges in their research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will have learned:

  • new perspectives and practices for addressing and responding to problems that may arise in their research
  • how to recognise messiness and unexpected problems as a useful resource that can enrich not only their research but the development of personal and professional skills
  • how to take back control of their research and decision-making process when things go wrong

Workshop details

  • 2-hour workshop
  • Maximum attendance: 20 participants
  • This workshop can be conducted in person or online
  • Participants will be provided with a workbook that can be used during the session and kept for future reference

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