Week 7:
Shifting Directions

Johnson Fellow in Suicide Research & Prevention

Seattle Pacific University | Seattle, Washington

March 27, 2020

I worked from my AirBnB this past week again. Now that all of the grad students are on spring break, things have been slowing down for me in terms of research progress. Basically I’ll get up in the morning and do some work for the day but I’ll try and get outside just so that I can get some fresh air. I have a long board that I ride around when it’s nice out and that’s my time to just vibe and take a break from everything going on. I used to ride around Green Lake but now that COVID-19 has been picking up in Seattle and the restrictions are coming down hard, I’m trying to do my best to stay away from there since that’s a popular place. I’m still planning on returning back to Iowa on April 9th to get all my stuff from my dorm, then head back to Minnesota for the summer and finish block 8 from home. It’s obviously a strange and difficult time for a lot of people and I think the hardest part about this is may be not getting to say a proper goodbye to all of the people that have positively impacted my life at Cornell. But, I’m just trying to make the most of it and get through a day at a time.

Carkeek Park

I also had a meeting with Dr. Law over Zoom this week. We discussed how I could spend my last few weeks here in Seattle in the most productive way. Since the research has kinda been slowing down for me, we decided that it would be a good thing if I got some clinical training along with my research training. Basically I began reading through several books and other resources on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This therapy was designed to treat emotion dysregulation and especially suicidal thoughts and behaviors, which was actually what we were studying in our HRV project that just wrapped up. I didn’t even realize the connection between DBT and my HRV project until I read a book called, “Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy.” It’s kinda interesting how things connect sometimes. Similarly, DBT draws principles from Zen Buddhism which I learned in an Asian philosophy class I took this past fall. So it’s pretty cool when different disciplines overlap and inform each other. I finished reading that book and it was very informative about the process of therapy, and the specific procedures and techniques involved within it. I think that being a practitioner is something I’m very interested in, and so I hope I can continue learning more about this therapy and be inspired by it. Another part of this reading assignment was to listen to a few recordings from the grad students in practice sessions applying DBT. One grad student acts as the therapist, while the other plays the client. Basically, I will provide some feedback on their DBT skills used in session which will be a good learning experience for everyone. I’m very excited to be doing this right now.

I made a wooden sculpture on the beach at Carkeek Park

I also had a Zoom meeting with my academic advisor at Cornell, Dr. Melinda Green. It’s been a while since we last spoke with each other, so it was nice to check in and update each other on how things have been going. It’s also nice to know that Dr. Green is supporting me back from Iowa since I’m on my own here.

Another shot of my wooden tower and Puget Sound

John Bogucki '20

John is a psychology major and philosophy minor from Fridley, Minnesota.