“It is one of those invaluable seeds, from which, since it is impossible to have every experience fully, one can grow something that represents other people’s experiences. Often one has to make do with seeds; the germs of what might have been, had one’s life been different.”
― Virginia Woolf,
Before my doctorate, I trained in clinical psychology in the family systems tradition. Heavy in theory and practice, family systems therapy was an excellent tool for a young therapist to approach family dysfunction as a source of an individual member’s pathology. It certainly spoke to my own experience in my family of origin. The theory was good; the clinical practices were useful. The library of books and journals assigned and fed back to professors showing that I could use this language of Western psychology (which always meant Plato). What was missing in my clinical training, was an academic acknowledgment of something I knew, but couldn’t put words to–the invisible, tacit, intuitive world interwoven in all phenomenon at all times, from multiple perspectives.
A decade later, I chose to pursue my doctorate from a school that did, in fact, give scholarly credence to this kind of psychological knowledge, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. It was at ITP where I learned about qualitative research methodologies in a rigorous Ph.D. program. Among the methods studied, was heuristics, a research method that has been waiting for me for many years. When PPD Grows Up has become a heuristic, embodied synthesis of research and researcher, combining qualitative, quantitative and personal research as a living journey through the memories of postpartum depression.
“I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.”
― Virginia Woolf,