Author Archives: method3000

2011 Year in Review

This has been an incredible year. I was engaged and married to the love of my life in a self-uniting secular ceremony. I traveled to Europe for the first time, and left Pittsburgh and moved to a small rural town in Wyoming. I began the final steps of my PhD: I was matched to an APA-accredited predoctoral clinical internship and I submitted a full draft of my dissertation to my director. I’ve also expanded my clinical abilities and done some of the most demanding and rewarding clinical work of my career (currently, psychoanalytic psychotherapy multiple times weekly with clients diagnosed with intellectual disabilities). Here is my review of what I did this year:


watched Black Swan
continuing internship interviews
travel to DC, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Utah, and Wyoming
second full year of Bikram yoga practice


turn in rank-order list for internship programs
lecture/ discussion by Judith Halberstam at University of Pittsburgh
read A Confederacy of Dunces
watched the Super Bowl
submitted all materials for Certificate of Teaching Excellence
matched to my internship program


saw a presentation by Mónica Enríquez-Enríquez
attended a lecture by Larry Davidson
read Franzen’s Freedom, How to Be Alone, and The Discomfort Zone
attended Farm to Table conference and local food tasting
finished watching Futurama
take a basic car mechanics and repair workshop


finished watching Deadwood
reading Nick Hornby (Juliet, Naked)
Humanistic Psych conference in Chicago
attended a lecture by Trinh Minh-ha
attended Croquet


begin attending Quaker meetings
started watching the Up series
complete Psyhodynamic Psychotherapy training course
comedy show at the Improv


attended Pgh Psychoanalytic lecture by Salman Akhtar
saw Attack Theater’s performance of Euridice and Orpheus
attended Menstrual Cycle Research Conference
attended Matt and Claire’s and Sarah and Tim’s weddings
engagement party BBQ in Denver
punk rock karaoke at Howlers


terminate with all clients in sex offender treatment program
Wedding in Pittsburgh
honeymoon in Germany
started reading Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
travel to DC, then Denver
move to Wyoming


internship begins, new individual clients and process groups
Rorschach seminars
attended a rodeo
visit to Denver
attended ten-year high school reunion


went to demolition derby
watching Kids in the Hall
Joe goes to Pgh for work
conduct first psych eval for internship
read Nocturnes (Ishiguro)
watched Somewhere (Sofia Coppola)


parents visit
watching Walking Dead season 2
technology paper published in a peer-reviewed academic journal
presentation on gender and intellectual disability at Women and Disabilities Conference in DC
begin working with an outpatient child client
watched Bridesmaids
read When We Were Orphans and Remains of the Day (Isihiguro)
Halloween party at our apartment


Thanksgiving in CO
reading 1Q84 (Murakami)
watched The Skin I Live In
started watching third season of In Treatment


travel to Pittsburgh, holiday parties
watched Young Adult
Joe’s parents visit for Christmas
Submitted complete dissertation draft
watching Chappelle Show
applying for postdoctoral postions/ jobs
New Year’s Eve celebration at our place, Lebowski themed


Friends, I have made no secret of my love for Pittsburgh. As my graduate student days here wane, I think of some of things I will miss.

(Not the least of which is sharing the hometown of Rev. Fred McFeely Rogers.)

Pittsburgh is my first home as an adult. I came here alone to forge my own future, and the city welcomed me warmly with low rent and a beautiful living space, a fabulous and incongruous skyline, late-night Indian food, and the world’s greatest dive bars.

I also discovered (and even still, continue to discover) Pittsburgh’s eccentricities. Right away, I found myself in a land operating by laws I’d never heard of before. I can only buy beer in a bar, but I can take it with me? What the hell is a growler? BYOB restaurants?

Pittsburgh is a land of bizarre twists and turns, dozens of neighborhoods with their own offerings. The first time I rode the Eliza Furnace Trail (Jail Trail), I was amazed. There’s a secret path behind the Cathedral of Learning that takes you over some railroad tracks, through a tiny residential neighborhood, through a big park, and then drops you on the Hot Metal Bridge (which, for me, usually leads to the bike bar). Mr. M and I seriously just found Highland Park and all it has to offer, like, last weekend.

I also feel like Pittsburgh gives rise to some great creative projects–I’d like to say, in a way that other places can’t, or at least in a way that wouldn’t be the same if they were to happen someplace else. We have an active arts community–here’s one in my neighborhood. The cycling community has made itself strong. Young people build excellent businesses, such as these (all owned by women friends my age):,, and Yesterday I went to Fleeting Pages, set up in the massive cavern left by Borders.

They set up an independent and local bookstore and community gathering space.

I loved being in the reclaimed space. The escalators have been shut down. There is much more room to wander. Upstairs, some of the repetitive Borders furniture has been replaced by an old, long, heavy oak table and an assortment of chairs. A sewing machine and a typewriter sit on desks against the wall. It was amazing how quickly this space was transformed into a place that felt like home. I can say the same thing for the city. It’s amazing how, when I mention that I study psychology at Duquesne to a stranger in Pittsburgh (most recently, the manager of a new beer distributor in my area), they say, “Oh, yeah, existential-phenomenological theory and psychotherapy.”

Pittsburgh has given me the greatest karaoke experiences of my life, the first place that I really felt like a “regular”–the Quiet Storm (I go here all the time–seriously, check Foursquare), and an excellent Bikram Yoga school. They gave me my first farmshare and an appreciation for good food. They gave me Girl Talk and Wiz Khalifa. My god, they even got me to enjoy watching football a couple of times. Pittsburgh has been deeply generous to me, and during my time here I’ve received massive support and encouragement, had a series of opportunities open up to me, and learned huge things about the world and myself. We’re not quite finished yet.

Predoctoral Clinical Psychology Internships

For the last six weeks or so I was interviewing for a position with various predoctoral psychology internship programs. All Ph.D. candidates in Clinical Psychology are required to complete a one-year internship as a capstone clinical training experience (and a dissertation, the capstone of the research and scholarship side of the Ph.D.). It’s advisable to defend the diss before the late day of the internship, since one is a Ph.D. after these requirements are met, and hence one can start collecting postdoctoral training hours immediately after the internship ends. 1-2 years worth of full-time postdoc hours are required for licensure in most states and in the District, along with passing or scoring at a particular level on the licensure examination (the EPPP, or Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology). There’s also opportunity to apply for an advanced certification five years later (by the American Board of Professional Psychology), which saves a lot of trouble when you’re moving between states since it’s more transferrable than a regular state license and makes it clear that you are very highly qualified.

Internships are very competitive, as there are far fewer internship spots than there are applicants. “Accredited” internships, those that have been approved by the American Psychological Association, are the most desirable since having one of these means you won’t have trouble getting licensed (whereas for a non-accredited internship, you’re burdened to produce proof that your training was worthwhile) and increases the pool of jobs and postdoctoral positions available to you. Hence, these are typically the most competitive programs. I put a lot of work into this process (which involves carefully selecting sites based on recommendations from others and publicly available information, carefully calculating my total hours of relevant experience, and crafting multiple essays and cover letters that distill my qualifications, professional identity, and unique suitability to any particular site down to around 2500 words per application) and applied to a lot of sites, and I was offered a relatively large number of interviews, all at accredited sites.

Interviews themselves are quite variable, some lasting a couple of hours, some taking the whole day. They might include meetings with individual or two-person teams of staff members, a group interview with other applicants, a funny cocktail-party type mingle session, you sitting at the end of a table while twelve people wearing masks of analytic neutrality ask questions about psychoanalytic theory. Sometimes there’s a facility tour, sometimes there’s a non-evaluative meeting with current interns (always a good sign when the interns can speak freely about where they’re working), sometimes they give you lunch. Questions vary widely—I’ve discussed sample clinical vignettes, presented my own cases, responded to inquiries about what I do for fun, the last song I listened to (Beyoncé… too revealing?), and what a suitable metaphor might be for how I engage with a treatment team. I’ve been asked to talk about conflicts with colleagues and supervisors and how I resolved them. I’ve been asked about how I handle sexual and aggressive feelings I might experience toward my patients. I’ve talked about mistakes I’ve made as a therapist, my weaknesses, my hopes for the future. I’ve spoken carefully, attempting to appear confident but not narcissistic, competent but not unwilling to learn, about my strengths. I’ve been asked how I address crises and surprises, how I screen for suicidality, how I would feel about sending someone to the hospital against her will. I’ve talked about the challenges and self-exploration involved in working with clients who are culturally different from me, and times I would do things differently if given a second chance. I’ve responded to complex questions about what I imagine to be the mechanism for change in psychotherapy and what distinguishes my clinical position from others. I’ve talked about how I can be a feminist and like psychoanalysis at the same time, and where existential-phenomenological psychology fits into my current clinical practice. These are probing and tough questions and not all that easy to prepare for. Some questions are predictable, like “why do you want to work here?,” but there are often curveballs, so you just have to handle the pressure and know what you’re talking about.

The next step was to submit a rank-order list by the deadline (Feb. 2 this year). All of the sites submit rank lists, too. An online matching program, which I had to pay a fee to participate in, puts these lists together to give the candidate her highest ranked site that also ranked her/ is willing to work with her. Unless, that is, applicants who the site ranked more highly fill those spots because they did not match with a place ranked more highly on their own rank lists (most sites have 2-6 available slots, mode of 3 for the places I ranked). This is apparently done using the same algorithm that matches med students to residency programs. It causes a lot of distress among applicants trying to figure out whether or not the official instruction to rank in the order of their genuine preferences (excluding any site that’s so undesirable it would be worth going through this process all over again next year in order to avoid ending up with that internship program) is really the best way to end up matching anywhere, if not to their favorite site. An acquaintance conducting mathematical research in the area of ranking systems, introduced to me by an old friend who was aware of my dilemma, advised me to go ahead and rank based on genuine preferences, as did a number of friends from my graduate program for whom the system worked: “go with your gut.”

Although I anticipate a favorable outcome, I feel pretty worn down after this process. Overall, it’s inconvenient, expensive, difficult, and deeply stressful. It requires travel in December and January, most sites do not offer phone/ Skype interviews, as demand is high enough that they can require/ almost require (you might be regarded by a site less favorably, seen as not seriously considering the site, if you opt for a phone interview) people travel to BFE to interview. I didn’t make it to one of my sites because of snowstorms, and they were unable to accommodate me with a phone interview. A few places, aware that graduate students are typically not earning much of a living, nor are independently wealthy, waive this requirement and conduct no on-site interviews, but this is the exception. It’s also not an option these days to restrict one’s applications by geographic location too narrowly, and candidates almost always have to travel for interviews and relocate for the internship year (which occasionally turns into a second, postdoc year, or even a job, so the move can be worthwhile—this isn’t an option for most interns, though, and many don’t want to stay in the town where they land an internship). Applicants have to apply to a lot of places to make sure they get enough interviews to match, and each application costs something—the price per application goes up after a certain amount of apps, too, to discourage sending out a huge number of apps. This discouragement is supposedly justified by statistics from past years which show that more applications doesn’t equal a greater likelihood of matching after a certain number (because applicants get sloppy/ generic after so many applications? because if you’re not getting invited to interview at some of the first sixteen you apply to, then probably it means that nobody will have you?). It’s also meant, probably, to counterbalance applicant anxiety about applying to a ton of places to make sure you get plenty of interviews (I did this, but not as extremely as some, and felt justified because I was applying to many sites that are known for their excellence or uniqueness, and therefore are particularly popular) or to make life easier for the system—not having to handle a glut of applications, not having less attractive applicants crowded out of interview schedules by applications from more qualified applicants who probably won’t end up ranking their “fall back” sites very highly, anyway.

The overall process also involves a lot of waiting punctuated by stressful situations: first waiting for phone calls from interview sites, then waiting for interview dates to arrive (with highly stressful, competitive interviews every few days), then composing a final and obligating rank list (you must accept the site you ranked that offers you a position—if you turn down a match, there’s little chance that any program will accept an application from you in the future). I agonized over producing a rank list quite a bit and submitted my list close to the deadline. I even made a change to my list after this deadline and faxed it to the matching service (aside to psychology folk: you can do that, guys, but it has to be within a couple of days), and now have a list that reflects a stable set of preferences.

Following submission of a rank-order list, there’s about a three week wait to see if and where one has matched. The date is Friday, Feb. 25 this year.  If it’s a no-go, there’s a round two where any remaining spots/ remaining people scramble to hook up, like the last week before prom or something.  If you get one, especially if you get one of your favorite ones, it’s glorious.

Update: Yes, I got one!  I think it will be good.

2010 Year in Review

Here is my year in review, with some memorable major events and milestones, some smaller events, and some reminders of what I was reading or thinking or doing during the year.  It’s meant to create a different experience of time, or of what a year is like.

  • January: New Year’s in Baltimore
  • January: first full year of Bikram yoga practice
  • January: ended practicum at Center for Children & Families
  • January: began Physiological Psych course (fourth year, second semester)
  • January: participated in focus group at Persad
  • January: began practicum at intensive outpatient program for persons with early psychosis/ who have experienced a first break
  • January: presented preliminary dissertation proposal at CIQR meeting
  • January: epic birthday karaoke at Nico’s Recovery Room
  • January/ February: Snowpocalypse
  • February: saw Small Cities (now “The Slow Reel”) at Howler’s
  • February: completed teaching portfolio per Duquesne’s Center for Teaching Excellence requirements
  • March: dissertation committee fully assembled, proposal approved
  • March: attended a lecture by Edward Tick
  • March: attended a lecture by Maria Elena Buszek
  • April: awarded dissertation writing fellowship for the year
  • April: Joe’s parents visit
  • April: saw Arthur Miller’s “The Price” at Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • April: saw Richard III performed at Carnegie-Mellon
  • April: started reading Kirkman’s Walking Dead graphic novel series
  • April: attended Croquet
  • May: Lost finale party
  • May: begin subscription to Stunner of the Month
  • May: terminated with all clients at all practicum sites
  • May: courses I taught, Social Psych at Duquesne and Intro to Psych at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), end
  • May: cohort “graduation”; all coursework completed, beginning dissertations and internship
  • May: won department’s Excellence in Teaching Award
  • May: began forensic psych job; started co-leading therapy group for internet sex offenders
  • May: read What Things Do by Peter Paul Verbeek
  • May: begin working with a mentee/ research assistant for the summer
  • June: attended AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) Conference
  • June: became associate editor for Janus Head
  • June: watched most of Red Dwarf
  • June: read The Psychoanalytic Adventures of Inspector Canal by Bruce Fink
  • July: went to upper peninsula Michigan for Joe’s family reunion
  • July: saw Flaming Lips at Station Square
  • July: first Communiteach event, home brewing 101
  • August: saw Metropolis with restored footage at Melwood
  • August: massive car repairs
  • August: Nick and Elena visited
  • August: Pirates game (they lost)
  • August: party on a boat!
  • August: saw The Moth at New Hazlett
  • August: reading Jay Prosser, Second Skins
  • August: Four years in Pittsburgh!
  • September: saw Attack Theatre dance performance, Site/Re-Site
  • September: read The Corrections (Franzen)
  • October: began year one training at the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center
  • October: saw 39 Steps at City Theatre
  • October: visited Colorado for cousin’s wedding
  • October: went skydiving
  • October: Communiteach event, Vegetarian Indian Cooking, and party
  • October: watched The Social Network and Catfish
  • November: took a basic knife skills workshop, bought a good quality chef’s knife
  • November: all internship applications submitted
  • November: celebratory dinner at Eleven
  • November: saw Gogol Bordello at Mr. Smalls
  • November: attended lectures by Patricia Gherovici
  • November: accepted to present at Society for Phenomenology and Human Sciences, but did not attend because internship apps demanded my attention
  • November: Thanksgiving in D.C.
  • November: end of third season of getting CSA boxes from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
  • December: Grammie Taylor dies:
  • December: visited Colorado
  • December: began internship interviews
  • December: reading Love and Its Place in Nature by Jonathan Lear
  • December: watched True Grit and I Love You Phillip Morris
  • December: new laptop!

Update: Thought I’d do 2009, too.

  • January: New Year’s in D.C., with Bill and Rachel
  • January: began Phenomenology & Feminism course with Eva Simms, research independent study with Martin Packer (second semester, third year)
  • January: began second semester of practicum at Chatham University
  • January: began teaching Intro to Psych at Duquesne and CCAC
  • January: had a party at our apartment for my birthday
  • January: presented “Body and Technology” paper at GAP symposium
  • January: received teaching award from the Social Psychology Network
  • January: attended inauguration party
  • January: began taking Bikram yoga classes in Pittsburgh
  • February: Superbowl party at Remedy
  • February: began working with second couples’ therapy case
  • February: handed in proposal for Comprehensive Exam
  • February: read/ re-read Don Ihde‘s Bodies in Technology
  • February: started watching Saw series
  • February: presented history of my research question as part of “audition” for CIQR Proseminar
  • March: presented with other psychology teachers at Eastern Psychological Association meeting
  • March: another party at our place
  • March: watched Lawnmower Man
  • April: attended Croquet
  • April: presented at Resistances: Technologies and Relationalities Conference at SUNY Binghamton
  • April: presented my final Phenomenology & Feminism paper to an audience of peers, my proto-dissertation proposal
  • April: attended Duquesne’s Undergraduate Psychology Conference where two former students presented papers written in my Psychology of Gender course
  • April: new glasses
  • April: read Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (David Foster Wallace)
  • May: began working as Clinic Coordinator, screening new patients for the Clinic
  • May: Eva agrees to direct my dissertation
  • May: read Elementary Particles (Houllebecq) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Murakami)
  • June: went to Denver, then to Seattle with family
  • June: read Wittgenstein’s Poker
  • July: Fourth of July in Canada with Ian and Gill
  • July: Scaife Advanced Medical Fellowship Program in Alcohol and Other Drug Dependency
  • July: saw Girl Talk at Station Square with Bill in town
  • July: began brewing kombucha
  • August: attended ghost bike lock-up
  • August: completed, and passed, Comprehensive Examination.
  • August: began teaching Developmental Psychology II and another section of Intro to Psych at CCAC
  • August: began CIQR Proseminar, auditing Merleau-Ponty course (first semester, fourth year)
  • August: began practicum in family psychotherapy
  • August: began watching Hellraiser series
  • August: read Lindner’s The Fifty Minute Hour (best psychotherapy case studies ever!)
  • September: saw The Sounds at Mr. Small’s
  • September: visited Jillian on the farm where she worked
  • October: presented a poster at Society for Humanistic Psychology annual conference, visited parents
  • October: Gabriela’s wedding in Baltimore
  • November: attended a lecture by Alphonso Lingis
  • November: discovered Sonny’s and the pickle shot
  • November: saw Candide by Quantum Theatre
  • November: watched A Serious Man
  • November: Thanksgiving in D.C.
  • December: started watching Lost
  • December: Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Anaheim, CA, met and saw lectures by Yalom, Kernberg, Gendlin, Minuchin, and others
  • December: visited Colorado


  • January: New Year’s in Pittsburgh
  • January: Teaching Intro to Psych at Duquesne, taking Advanced Assessment (Rorschach), Social Psychology, Bruce Fink’s Psychoanalytic Theory, and Cultural Diversity (second semester, second year)
  • January: presented paper on Freud’s theory of gender at Graduate Association of Psychology symposium
  • January: watching The Medium on television
  • January: watched Fat Girl
  • February: read The Master and Margarita
  • February: participant in social drinking study (trying to make extra cash through these)
  • April: participant in sleep study
  • April: began working in Ohio doing Social Security Disability assessments
  • April: began summer practicum at a residential treatment facility for people in recovery from substance dependencies
  • April: complete graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies
  • April: win paper award from department of Women and Gender Studies
  • May: begin independent study in psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • May: Hawaii Social Science Conference/ Hawaii vacation
  • May: began a lasting course of psychoanalytic psychotherapy/ psychoanalysis
  • May: watched The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • June: Human Science Research Conference at Ramapo College, New Jersey
  • June: Pennsylvania Psychological Association Conference in Harrisburg, win Existential-Humanistic Theory and Application Research Award for presentation
  • June: parents visit
  • June: attend Pittsburgh Passion football game (they totally won)
  • June: read Murakami’s After Dark
  • June: ride Critical Mass
  • July: visit Colorado
  • July: read We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
  • July: Joe starts a new job
  • August: present papers at Division 32 (Humanistic Psych) and American Psychological Association (through Div. 39, Psychoanalysis) conferences in Boston
  • August: watched Alphaville at Regent Square
  • August: began teaching Psych of Gender, and taking Case Formulation with Bruce Fink, Advanced Research with Martin Packer, (first semester, third year)
  • August: attend Roller Derby (Steel Hurtin’)
  • August: begin practicum at Chatham
  • September: attend SJC Homecoming
  • September: began CSA with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance
  • October: attend SPEP, see Don Ihde panel on postphenomenology
  • October: saw Radio Golf performed by Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • October: watching presidential debates
  • November: saw Poona the F**kdog performed by the University of Pittsburgh Theatre Arts Department
  • November: saw Electric Six at Mr. Small’s
  • November: attended Handmade Arcade
  • November: saw Reggie Watts at the Warhol
  • November: saw Neighborhood Narratives at Firehouse Lounge
  • November: Joe’s parents visit for Thanksgiving
  • November: stated watching Mad Men
  • December: saw The Goat at the Pittsburgh Playhouse
  • December: volunteer for Persad’s glassware sale fundraiser
  • December: visited Colorado

Feminist Phenomenology

I am an associate editor of the interdisciplinary open access journal Janus Head.  We have a special issue coming out in one of my major areas of interest–perhaps you would like to contribute?

Janus Head Special Issue: Feminist Phenomenology

Janus Head is issuing a special volume on feminist phenomenology in the fall of 2012. Feminist phenomenology is an interdisciplinary endeavor between philosophy, the social and natural sciences, and the literary arts. We encourage submissions from these different areas, and they can focus on foundational feminist issues in phenomenology, feminist phenomenological methods, or applied phenomenological studies that deal with issues related to women and gender through the framework of continental philosophy. The volume will be edited by Eva Simms, (Duquesne University, Psychology Department) and Beata Stawarska (University of Oregon, Philosophy Department).

The essays in Janus Head are widely distributed in print and electronic form and are available for free download as pdf documents. This ensures that contributors’ work is accessible from all around the world.

Good Life

Very interesting story and conversation, Cynthia Ozick on Steven Millhauser’s story, “In the Reign of Harad IV.”  I had not heard of Millhauser before, but I like this Borges-like fairy tale.

The story and the conversation addresses two views of the artist (or, person with a project, like a philosophical project, or the project of constructing a life or constituting a self):

1) The artist has a strong desire to do something. Production is a selfish task, she wants to create because of an inner drive to do so. It is enough for her art to simply exist (or even to exist conceptually, personally, inaccessibly to others).  Finnegan’s Wake, in its inaccessibility, was cited as an example.  Kafka’s entire body of work was cited as a possible example.  The artist is lonely, but fine.  She’s fulfilling her desire.

2) The artist is contributing to the world. Her art is for an audience, it is meant to transform the world, and therefore the people in the world must receive it in some way.  It has a political dimension.  The context in which it comes into existence matters, as it is a response to the “external” world.  Maybe this art can be taught.  It exists in relation to other people, and one way or another, their response is crucial.  The artist wants her art to reproduce, to become caught up in history.  No need for examples here, right?

Book Review

I just saw that my review of Conversation Analysis and Psychotherapy by A. Perkyl, C. Antaki, S. Vehvilaninen and I. Leudar, was published in Qualitative Research in Psychology (Volume 7, Issue 4 October 2010 , pages 369 – 370), although that link won’t let you read it. I still feel a bit conflicted about having something go to print that others will have to pay the publisher to view (and hence, which is less likely to be viewed!). I’m going to try to avoid this as much as possible in my academic career and I certainly plan to use a Creative Commons license for my dissertation, following the advice of Dr. danah boyd.