Catherine Mariani Partamian, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

I began working with Alison Miller in Feb. 2008. I was at the stage in my dissertation where I had defended my proposal, collected my data, done some preliminary statistical analysis and written up the beginning of my methods section. In short, enough work that I thought I did not have that much to do and should certainly be able to keep going on my own, but enough still that I felt completely overwhelmed and uncertain of how to begin to take the next step forward. I began to toy with the idea of a coach after a friend in another city had used one with successful results (a degree) and when I began to take an honest, hard look at how long I had been at the point of “only have to run the rest of my stats, write up the results and the discussion” going on a couple of years! Recognizing I was stuck and acknowledging to myself that I did really want to finish was the first step. The hardest part, for me, was overcoming the shame I placed on myself for needing extra help when my friends and colleagues did not need this help to finish their degree. One of the many wonderful aspects of working with Alison is that she helped me address this block to completing my dissertation project as much as she helped with the block caused by my lack of stat knowledge needed to move forward. As a result of working with Alison I defended my dissertation and received my degree in August 2008 (and in all fairness it probably would have been May except for outside committee circumstances), but not only do I have the degree, I have more knowledge and awareness of personal, self-inflicted “road blocks,” organization, scheduling and creating a daily structure that make me more successful in all areas of my life. She gave me many “tools” throughout the process of completing my dissertation which definitely have made me a better person and mother today than I was before working with her! She is incredibly supportive, timely, persistent, practical, non judgmental and knowledgeable about what it takes to complete a dissertation, and, for me, more importantly, what can get in the way of completing any large project and how to effectively deal with those impediments, large and small. I have no shame now in sharing with anyone that I used a dissertation coach, and in fact, am quite pleased to publicly share how rewarding the experience was (obviously).

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