Research on The Work

 

The Work shares much with cognitive therapy, and has also many similarities with forms of inquiry found in Buddhist and Advaita traditions. In some ways, The Work is a Buddhist flavored form of cognitive therapy, or a cognitive therapy flavored form of Buddhism.

There is a great deal of research on cognitive therapy, of course. And also on Buddhist forms of meditation. There is very little, or perhaps no, research on inquiry as found in Buddhism or Advaita.

And there is nearly or actually no research on The Work. A quick Google Scholar search only turned up a general overview.

Why do research on The Work? There are many reasons. It would make it interesting to more therapists. It would gain sufficient support so it can be included in interventions, including large scale interventions to increase health and well-being and prevent illness. It would give it a foothold in the academic world, opening up for further research into The Work and similar approaches.

A solid study would perhaps use qualitative and quantitative methods, a waiting list control group, and several experimental groups to compare The Work with – for instance – cognitive therapy, group therapy, relaxation or other techniques shown to work in previous research. That way, we could see if it works better than nothing, how well it works compared with more traditional techniques, and whether it has unique effects. Standardized measures could be used to gauge some or all of the measures below.

What could we look at? We can look at some of the shorter-term effects such as levels of stress, well-being, satisfaction with personal relationships, work satisfaction, gratitude, forgiveness, ability to concentrate, self-acceptance, sense of meaning and purpose in life, how we tell our life stories, quality of sleep, zest. We could look at physiological measures such as blood pressure, immune function, levels of illness and symptoms, and so on. And more indirect effects, such as health behaviors and coping strategies. Are there also longer term effects, for instance in maturity?

In terms of structure, do people benefit more from groups or individual work? What is the difference in outcome when we are facilitated by a certified facilitated, facilitated by a peer, or do it on our own? What is the best way of training people in facilitating themselves and others? How many sessions do they need to get trained? Also, who benefits the most? Do people with certain characteristics, or in certain situations, benefit more than others? What are the best matches between individuals and their circumstances, tools, and settings?

One idea for explorative research:

Use an online questionnaire to measure well-being and other measures such as gratitude, forgiveness, and satisfaction with relationships. Other possibilities are personality (NEO) and character strengths (VIA) to see who are drawn to and sticks with The Work. And other things could be included such as coping strategies, level of rumination, and stress.

Invite participants to The School to fill out the questionnaire before The School, immediately afterward, and then a few weeks later after the initial feel-good effect has worn out. Also ask for level of experience with The Work prior to the workshop, and also how often they do it on their own. To make it simpler, only people relatively new to The Work could be included.
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– research
– benefits of research
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– wheat may find

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The Work is very similar to inquiry as found in Buddhist and Advaita traditions, and also to cognitive therapy.

But in contrast to Buddhist practice and cognitive therapy, there is nearly or actually no research on The Work. A quick search didn’t turn up much, apart from a general overview of The Work.

Research on The Work could make it interesting to more therapists, it would make it solid enough to be included in different types of interventions, and it would give it a foothold in the academic world, perhaps spurring more research into it and similar approaches.

So how would we do research on The Work?

A solid study would perhaps use qualitative and quantitative methods, a waiting list control group, and several experimental groups to compare The Work with – for instance – cognitive therapy, group therapy, relaxation or other techniques shown to work in previous research. That way, we could see if it works better than nothing, how well it works compared with more traditional techniques, and whether it has unique effects. Standardized measures could be used to gauge levels of stress, well-being, satisfaction with personal relationships, gratitude, forgiveness, zest, ability to concentrate, and so on. It would be interesting to measure physiological changes as well, perhaps in blood pressure, immune function, levels of illness and symptoms, and so on. And more indirect effects, such as health behaviors. Also, are there more long term effects, for instance in maturation?

Do people benefit more from groups or individual work? What is the difference in outcome between being facilitated by a certified facilitated, being facilitated by a peer, or doing it on their own?

What is the best way of training people in facilitating themselves and others? How many sessions do they need?

Also, who benefits the most? Do people with certain characteristics, or in certain situations, benefit more than others? What are the best matches between individuals and their circumstances, tools, and settings?

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