Please join The Writers’ Exchange in congratulating

Dr. Tammera Cooke, PsyD, in the successful completion of her dissertation:

Psychology’s Struggle to Locate a Moral Vision in a Value-Neutral Framework: A Hermeneutic Perspective on Standard 3.05 of the APA Ethics Code

The purpose of this study is to better understand the cultural influences reflected in and the political consequences that emanate from the Ethics Code. Through interviews and case studies: two broad conclusions emerged. First, the authors and interpreters of the APA Ethics Code understate the influences of other cultures, traditions, and various ethnic groups which counter the individualistic paradigm of the dominant Western culture. Second, the interviews contained material which indicates the procedures present in mainstream psychology as an impediment to a better understanding of moral issues, relational processes, and ethical outcomes in the work of psychologists. 

What advice would you give to others writing a dissertation?

Graduate school is going to demand you make some concessions. Concession’s aren’t a bad thing, However, it is a decision making process. For me, when it comes to writing, I remember my very first writing class at AUS. It was taught by Anne, Maxham, PhD. This woman had some serious skills and taught me a great deal. The one unifying theme that I remember and have continued to seek out in those whom I rely upon for help with my writing: follow your heart first. The rest can be learned. You will be tempted to give-up. Trust yourself and the talents of others.

I learned to rely on professionals to bring out my strengths. I worked with the WEX team and it was worth it!

I’d like to offer something that my own dissertation Chair, Philip Cushman offered to me. It was quote by Ray Bradbury he has shared with the AUS students:

To sum it all up, if you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.  You must write every day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head . . . . You must live in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfume and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.  I wish for you a wrestling match with your creative muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories . . . . Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days and out of that love, remake a world. (Ray Bradbury, 1977)

I was inspired- to write my heart out. And you know what: I followed my heart and I’ve not been disappointed.  I’ve returned to this often for many things: encouragement, solace, provocation and comfort. Most especially, it helped me to keep writing, even when I wanted or believed otherwise. Perhaps it will do the same for you. Find people who help you live this out.  

What are your next steps in your academic/professional career?

My graduation gift to myself is to do absolutely nothing for at least a quarter. Many of those projects include: writing, listening and living my life so that I have something to write about.

I have a fervent, insatiable curiosity in matters of human being, suffering, healing and change – the heart.

As a recent graduate from Antioch University Seattle, next steps include: Taking a small rest before continuing to the work of examining what is often unquestioned in clinical practice as it pertains to the moral, political, and philosophical foundations that underlie the American psychology- it’s meanings and controversies, in order to better understand the cultural influences reflected in and the political consequences that emanate from the policies and standards it generates. It is my hope that my life’s work will attempt to help society better understand the major dilemma confronting the profession of psychology in the United States: how to speak to the ills of our time while being able to draw explicitly from the moral and ethical traditions that constitute us. This endeavor also includes my clinical work which grounded in rural community mental health care, international psychology, and disaster response.          

Tammera Cooke

PsyD Alum, Antioch University Seattle (2007-2017).