|Research Philosophy :
In line with Ayn Rand’s (1961) philosophical thought, I value thinking that can be transformed into action. Additionally, I feel that the value of research should promote social change. In their research endeavors, graduate students are social change agents. They are, in Rand’s words, the New Intellectuals. “The intellectual carries the application of philosophical principles to very field of human endeavor. He [sic] sets a society’s course by transmitting ideas from the “ivory tower” of the philosopher to the university professor - to the writer-to the artist- to the newspaperman – to the politician – to the movie maker – to the night club singer – to the man in the street (Rand, 1961, p. 26).
I strongly value creativity being an artist, writer, and dancer. “The creative process is a way of fulfilling the longing or search for a new object or state of experience or existence that is not easily found or attained” (Arieti, 1976, p. 6). My own research efforts have focused on the effectiveness and use of the creative therapies to promote healing and elevate self-esteem. For instance, I found that art therapy significantly raised the self-esteem of a group of sexual abuse survivors (Brooke, 1995; 1997; 2007). My use of art parallels that of Jung (1966) who was a novice who use art to promote awareness and insight.
My training as a counselor was based in the ecological perspective. The ecological model, the major proponent of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) work, seeks to explain individual knowledge, development, and competencies in terms of the guidance, support, and structure provided by society and to explain social change over time in terms of the cumulative effect of individual choices. In order to bring about particular change, effective strategies for influencing the attitudes and behaviors of others are necessary. The value of the coaching process is to help bring the student’s personal message to the forefront and help them make social change through their research endeavors.
My role as a coach and a mentor would be to help students take their education and experience in the laboratory and transform that into efforts that can be utilized in real life settings. Further, my role is to be creative with the student’s ideas in order to help them move closer to their research goals. As a mentor, I will engage students in critical dialogue and as Friere (1971) notes, “true dialog cannot exist unless the dailoguers engage in critical thinking – thinking which discerns an individual solidarity between them – thinking which perceives reality as process, as transformation, rather than as a static entity – thinking which does not separate itself from action, but constantly immerses itself in temporality without fear of the risks involved” (pp. 80-81).
Arieti, S. (1976). Creativity: The magic synthesis. New York: Basic Books.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Boston,
Brooke, S.L. (1995). Art expression with sexual abuse survivors. The Arts
Brooke, S.L. (1997). Healing through art: Art therapy with sexual abuse
Brooke, S.L. (2007). The use of the creative therapies with sexual abuse
Friere, P. (1971). Pedagogy of the oppressed. NY: Herder and Herder.
Jung, C.G. (1966). The spirit in man, art, and literature. NJ: Princeton
Rand, A. (1961). For the new intellectual. New York: Signet.
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