Fall Reflections

This will be very difficult for me to write… because I will have to sit and reflect on why I am here now. And here now, I am feeling pressured, stressed and just beginning to see the light. AGAIN. Why again? Plans were made and the schedule was not adhered to. Why? 1.I had difficultly in defining the problem I was solving. 2. Once I had defined the problem, I knew I needed a partner with expertise in mental health to collaborate with. I had known this since the spring, and I was not able to find that collaborator by the end of summer. The topic of Adjuastment Disorder needed a pivot.

During the summer, I became mesmerized and was absolutely blown away by AI image generators. Stable Diffusion, MidJourney and DallE -2 were the first ones I looked into. I was captivated by them. I could describe an image I was thinking of that moment, or in a dream, or for some fanciful future. And it was not just the act of describing something and seeing it generated, it was the entire process involve in guiding the AI to generate the image that you wanted to create. Of course at date there are App both mobile and web-based. Different image generator model use depending on what the outcome of the app intends to create.

Why? Here and Now…

It’s hard to have to admit that I made a lot of mistakes and missteps in approaching my thesis. By the end of the summer, thought I had identified the stakeholders for my primary research and crafted my first letters to ask for guidance in finding someone who would be receptive to the idea of cross discipline collaboration to 2 departments at NYU with cirriculums that focused on different aspects of psychology.  Needless to say, I was easily discouraged by what I felt seemed like rejections. And after writing a little over a handful of letters, I felt insecure about my topic and my ability to write cold emails asking for assistance and guidance in further researching Adjustment Disorder.

I started to look into one aspect in determining a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder- Preoccupation, Rumination and Worry. [[And here’s irony of this all. Since finishing Pre-Thesis, my mind cannot stop thinking about my thesis presentation.]] I start looking deeper into imagery-based therapies and emotion regulation after reading an article by Katie Gamby and Michael Desposito, “Mental imagery as an intervention for emotion regulation disorders” in Counseling Today. I contacted Katie Gamby and asked for the references she and Michael user for their article. After receiving her bibliography list, I started reading the studies that were relevant to further my research into imagery-based therapies. In my mind and even on a flow chart it all seemed to fit. Adjustment Disorder –> Rumination and Worry –> Cognitive Behavioral Therapy –> Emotion Regulation –> Image-Based Therapies –> AI Image Generator Models –> User Personalized Real-Time Generation of Imagery.  That path made perfect sense for me to follow… now the process to back this up. I wanted to speak to therapist and counselors about their experiences in the using current image-based approaches to emotion regulations.

I contacted the NYU Wellness Center to ask first if it was possible to directly contact the counselors there and request an infornational interview. Rightly so, they replied with solid “NO”. They could not help me with this because their purpose is to faciliate for mental health counseling. [[At this point, have cannot stop worrying about my thesis to the point I cannot get to sleep at night, or go back to sleep upon waking. I am stressed, not thinking, having difficulty focusing and feeling insecure about my ability to put a concrete sentence together.]]  Upon reflection, I should have done more even when they said they could not even disperse a survey that I had made. I wasn’t understanding their point, that I could not use them as for contacting  the counselors. I was taking it as a reject to me and my request. 

I had created for myself an exceptional situation in delaying my thesis presentation a semester. Fall classes started and I was really looking forward to speaking to my thesis advisor. I would receive an advisor with everyone else who was presenting their thesis in the Spring. In the meantime, I was floundering… hitting a wall at stating the problem I was solving for in a cohesive and compelling sentence! I kept jumping to the HOW, rather than the WHY. When I was able to speak to my thesis advisor, I had developed with the help of a friend who worked in product branding, a cohesive and compelling topic. Unfortuately, that at this point, the presentation date was too close to accomplish the necessary steps I needed to complete prototype I could iterate in time. [[ That is on me… my uncertainty, fear of failure and rejection.]] I would continue to direct my focus on the counselor and my thesis would be a theoretical prototype. His advise was invaluable and had me redirected focus starting an iterable prototype I could accomplish with the time I had NOW. Rather than starting it as a counselor’s aid, focus on the person seeking therapy to help calm and relax them making it hopefully easier open up in therapy. I would do this by using image generator models.