Dissertation Groups Starting NOW

with Richard S. Cooper, Ph.D.


   Most people have trouble at the dissertation phase of the Ph.D.  One study showed a 60% drop-out rate from all graduate programs. 

   Of those students who remain, it is the norm for them to become overwhelmed and despairing about the whole process.  Often, the work grinds to a halt or to an excruciatingly slow pace, which fuels further guilt and demoralization about not finishing.  It is a vicious cycle.

The Dissertation Support Group

   The dissertation support group provides a confidential, nurturing, supportive environment in which it becomes safe again to work.  The  other group members, even though they may be in widely varied fields, help reconstitute one's cohort, which has often scattered by the time one is working on the dissertation.

   We learn to focus on process rather than product and to avoid setting unreasonable deadlines.  We learn, through behavioral contracting, to make demands on ourselves that can be fulfilled, thus breaking the cycle of guilt and freeing our creative energies.

   When the process is under way, the product will take care of itself.

Getting Started

   I like to have a thirty- minute meeting with each prospective group member to get to know  him or her a little bit prior to the  first group meeting.  There is no charge for this initial meeting.

   At the first group meeting members complete a group intake form which asks for some demographic information, some information as to where in the dissertation process they are, and some indication as to the nature of the problems they have been encountering. From this information I construct a group profile which is helpful in deteremining the focus of discussion for that and subsequent sessions.
last updated on: March 30, 2015
what:   dissertation groups, to facilitate                              graduate students finishing the    
           dissertation, or other major paper

when:   once a week,
            for one-and-a-half to two hours

where:  Richard Cooper's
     Chapel Hill/Durham office,
     Creative Solutions
with:      all groups meet with Dr. Cooper,
                  Richard S. Cooper, Ph.D.
             (I had to write a dissertation, too : )
             Clinical Psychologist
             Licensed Psychologist, North Carolina

If you have any questions about the group
or want to sign up for the initial interview
call or e-mail me, Richard.

      email me at  rcpianoman@yahoo.com

     call me at  919 942-3229
(You will need to leave me a message
suggesting time ranges to call you back.)
Commitment to Your Dissertation Group

   The group operates in three-month cycles.  If you decide to be part  of the group, I ask that you make a commitment to come for an entire three-month cycle. This allows the group process to develop, making the supportive component its most effective.

   At the end of that time you may venture forth on your own or sign on for another three months. That will also be a time when new members are welcomed into the group.

   Group members are expected to attend each week.  Once every six weeks you will be allowed to miss without being charged. Absences after that will be charged at the full rate, meaning that you
and not your insurance company will be billed.

Cost Considerations

   The charge for each group session is billed to your health insurance company at the rate of $65 per session. Depending on your particular policy, this means that your out of pocket expense may be a small copay.  You may pay this each time or my office will bill you monthly. You pay only the portion that insurance will not cover. Those without health insurance should inquire about special payment arrangements.

Please note: Dr. Cooper also works with graduate students on an individual basis to find solutions to their dissertation problems.