Laying the Groundwork – Klara Woldenga, Bipolar Youth Action Project Co-lead

In our research meeting we laid the ground work for what the research study is about. We discussed the goals of the research project and the possible conflicts we could encounter along the way. We got to know each other better through group exercises which involved writing down goals and obstacles on post-it notes which were then posted on a large painting of a boat to create a metaphor for the research as a journey on a water vessel.

A Safe and Open Space

We also discussed the principles of ethics and what we can and cannot say outside of the group. What I thought was the most important was to realize that we were in a safe space, a space open to discussion about bipolar disorder. It made me feel comfortable being amongst people that all had the same diagnosis as me. In our group there are lots of different personality types, which reminded me that people with the same diagnosis aren’t necessarily the same person. We also spent time mingling with each other during lunch, which was positive; it allowed me to interact with the members of the group in a casual setting.

The Pros and the Cons

Over all, the entire research meeting went well. The strong pros of it were that it laid the ground work of the project as well as set goals for all of us to keep in mind. We were also able to spend more time with each other and get to know everyone better. The cons were that the meeting was much too long; I was barely able to pay attention and sit still by the end of it. For me, I don’t do well with passive learning; although being able to be on my feet as a Lead and a facilitator kept me focused enough to stay interested in the work. 

Klara Woldenga