PhDs in Therapy

PhDs in Therapy

by Anastasia Piatakhina Gire

A therapist reflects on her work with PhD students doing field work abroad and the healing that can happen doing online therapy at such a vulnerable moment in people's lives.
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    My online psychotherapy practice attracts PhD candidates from around the world. Young academics are passionate people—articulate, often self-aware, intelligent, and eager to learn. But one would not guess how much this population suffers from poor mental health, how exposed and fragile they can actually be.

    Research on occupational stress amongst academics indicates that it is widespread, with younger academics experiencing more mental health issues than their older counterparts. A recent Belgian study suggests that PhD students are 2.4 times more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder than the highly educated general population.

    Other studies show that as much as 50 percent of doctoral students leave graduate school without finishing; it is reasonable to imagine that mental health issues play a major role in such an attrition rate.
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    Anastasia Piatakhina GireAnastasia Piatakhina Gire was born and raised in Saint Petersbourg (Russia), and, before moving to Paris, lived and studied in Italy, Great Britain and Spain.
    Her experience of evolving abroad, together with her multicultural marriage and trilingual family, makes her particularly sensitive to the sort of issues experienced by people living in a different country than that of their origin, or those who are part of a mixed couple. Life away from home and family brings along quite specific psychological challenges. An expat herself, she is passionate about fellow travelers. As a writer, she has been writing scenarios since 2006 for television and cinema, and has always felt fascinated by people’s stories.
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