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About our Un-Dissertation site: Creating new brain habits to get the dissertation done

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So, you’re almost there. The doctorate. The Ph.D. But you have to write the Dissertation.

Welcome to the land of ABD — All But Dissertation.

And maybe you have a job waiting for you - except you have to finish the degree first. Or you’re running out of time and having to think about asking for an extension. Or maybe you’re just starting the dissertation process, but feeling lost and uncertain about whether you can do this.

Many of the ABD students I have talked with over the years express the same doubts and concerns and feelings about the whole process of writing a dissertation. Perhaps some of their concerns sound familiar to you?:

  • I don’t have time for this! I have a job to pay the rent and put food on the table — How can I possibly manage my limited time to make this happen?
  • I don’t seem to care anymore about this whole topic — I’ve lost my passion — had it drained right out of me. Working on this dissertation is like pulling teeth - I hate it.
  • I don’t feel like I can do this. I’m not sure what to do, where to start, how to progress — I can’t even imagine finishing it anymore, I feel like it will never be over.
  • I can’t work with my adviser/committee. Their feedback is so critical, there are always more changes to make, it’s never right. How am I supposed to finish faced with this?


Too many students get mired down by these kinds of concerns. Here you are, at the pinnacle of your academic career, at the cusp of finishing …. and you feel stuck and frustrated or increasingly hopeless that it will ever really be done.


It doesn’t have to be like this!

What if the whole process weren’t like this?

What if writing a dissertation were really the learning project it was intended to be?

What if by using the dissertation project as a learning tool:

  • you are able to discover your own best work habits and rhythms, to last you for the rest of your working life
  • you feel confident that you are creating an authentic contribution to your field and the people it touches
  • you are able to use any dissertation doubts and concerns and fears to find ways to move past these — not just for the dissertation itself, but as tools for living everyday in a richer, more meaningful way

What if you had strategies and support to practice these new ways of being and thinking and feeling and doing?


Join Us In Creating an “UnDissertation”

My own dissertation process was incredibly painful and lengthy to an extreme. I spent years in “dissertation recovery”. I wouldn’t want anyone to have go through what I did.

So in addition to my practice as a neuropsychologist, I started creating what I call UnDissertation groups — so others could have a healthier alternative (and avoid all that recovery ;-).

Why “unDissertation”? Because I don’t want to provide the usual “dissertation support”. I don’t just want you to complete this one huge mega-project and then think it’s over. In fact, I don’t really want you to  “write a dissertation”.

I do want you to feel engaged with what you are doing — whatever it is.

You can use this project — which happens to get you a Ph.D.  — to learn about your own effective work habits, what works for you, what doesn’t, how to use your time, how to deal with a complicated morass of information to create a convincing and elegant story to share.

You can also use this project to learn about yourself, to learn about how your brain works (literally - remember, I’m a brain-based coach!) to help you get wherever you want to go, including, but not limited to, the completion of a dissertation.

You can be one of those people who emerge feeling proud of your contribution and satisfied with your performance and ready to tackle the next exciting challenge! You can look back at your dissertation work as a time well-spent…in a wealth of ways.

And that means jettisoning the typical “Dissertation” mindset and discovering a new “UnDissertation” mindset:

  1. Discover your “brain habits” about how you view your dissertation writing and relationships
  2. Explore different strategies to create new “brain habits”
  3. Participate in a supportive network of other UnDissertationers to compare strategies, give and receive encouragement for your practices, and stay connected to your process and daily/weekly goals.

To learn more about what UnDissertation groups are about and why I’ve structured them the way I have, use the Contact Form to receive a paper on Motivating Yourself to Get the Dissertation Done! (To prove I understand your concerns: it’s free, it’s short, and it’s minimally academic to read ;-)