The time has come for me to make a decision about the topic for my Master’s thesis. I am overwhelmed. There are so many things I would like to write this on, and maybe I am worrying too much about choosing the “right” topic versus it being “good enough.” A lot of the topics I’m interested in have already been written about in one form or another, and I am trying to remember that this is the first, but does not have to be the only, academic contribution I ever make.
Top contenders so far are :
1.) A proposal for a model of care that combines doula support and mental health support by the same provider (mental health professional and trained doula), to enhance the birth experience for mother and child, decrease risk for postpartum depression, and improve mother/child bonding in the first year, and
2.) a proposal for a curriculum model in public schools that educates and nurtures the “whole child”, based on the quote by Aristotle, “Educating the mind without educating the hear is no education at all.”
I am thinking about what I want to do with my career once I am done with school, and hoping that my thesis would provide a sort of foundation for that. What has worked best for me in the past is to listen to my heart and what is closest to it, and I am having a hard time differentiating each of the things close to my heart, and therefore having a hard time deciding on my topic.
These are close to my heart:
treating mothers and children with love and support
Attachment Theory and bonding
After my graduation, I potentially would like to serve as a doula while working part-time as a mental health professional, working toward full licensure. I love birth, babies, and mothers, but what I do not like about the work of a doula is the unpredictability, the sleepless nights, and the difficulty in maintaining boundaries between personal and professional life. I suppose I have not yet learned how to surrender to the work of a doula.
My initial vision for my thesis and for my career after graduation was to be a doula and mental health practitioner in one–providing birth support alongside mental health support for mothers, babies, and their partners. Because of the ethical boundaries required of Marriage and Family Therapists (no dual relationships and no physical contact), it seemed a logical segue to write a thesis to propose a model of care that makes room for doula care in the scope of Marriage and Family Therapy, because it seems like a new idea and something I’d be interested in practicing.
Only, now I am not sure how far I’d like to take this doula work, because of the concerns I listed above.
What I ultimately would like to do is to have a private practice in which I work with children, individuals and families to “become whole”, or heal from trauma, by the use of Jungian Sandplay and other therapies. “Becoming whole” is an important theme for me, and I view life through this lens. Regardless of a person’s presenting problem of life circumstances, it is my view that each person strives simply to “be whole”, and that therein lies the answer to life’s problems.
Plenty of dissertations and theses have been written about Sandplay and trauma, so I don’t really want to write about that. I would like to present something remotely original.
The theme of “becoming whole” could well apply to the theme of childbirth, in the sense that birth is a portal into motherhood and into earthly life, and an opportunity to enter into it together as a mother/child dyad. The more “whole” this mother/child dyad is able to operate, the greater the likelihood of strong attachment and less likelihood of postpartum mood disorders.
Writing here gives me so much clarity. I should do it more often.