Completing the PhD: Thesis Stasis Cases

Thesis stasis

According to a 2008 report prepared by the Council of Graduate Schools’ Ph.D. Completion Project, 57% of PhD students complete their degrees. Though this high drop out rate is not wholly attributable to writing blocks and procrastination, there is research that indicates that these issues play a part.

Many students who have previously done well in educational settings that provided greater support, guidance and structure, are significantly challenged to produce written work in doctoral programs where there are either no deadlines or very long-term deadlines. Different skills and work habits are needed, and a struggling student is lucky if they find themselves aligned with an advisor who has the interest, time or talent to do a good job with this kind of mentoring.
Without that kind of assistance, the daunting challenges of a Ph.D. program may result in a “thesis stasis” condition where anxiety, overwhelm and resentments block forward progress on the dissertation. Financial pressures, negative self judgments and dislike for one’s program are elements that may also contribute to a student’s decision to cut their losses and quit.
I have previously blogged on this topic, and in that article and in my book I’ve given several tips and resources for Ph.D. students who are thesis stasis cases.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, PhD and dissertation/thesis writing issues, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Completing the PhD: Thesis Stasis Cases

  1. Fakewomen says:


  2. First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick
    question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are
    wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or tips? Thank you!

    • Hello – Athletes always warm up before they compete, and they do not consider it a waste. Writers shouldn’t either. If something good starts happening after 10 minutes, that is wonderful! When writing long projects, it can also help to plan your starting point for the next day when you are finishing a day’s work.

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