Monthly Archives: June 2018

Consulting the Oracle at Delphi

In the ancient times in Greece, people would seek out answers to their questions or gain insight into their future by going to the Oracle at Delphi.  The Oracle named Pythia, was a priestess who entered a trance-like state after inhaling the ethylene fumes so she could speak prophesy of the god Apollo.  This oracle was so well-known and sought out that Delphi was considered the center of the world.

All throughout time, people seek out answers to their questions and grasp for what the future may bring.  Whether we search ourselves, seek out God, visit soothsayers, or call the psychic hotlines (are these still even in existence?  I could be dating myself here) people look to find answers.  Songs were wrote about it (https://youtu.be/HUgwM1Ky228).  It is even evidenced by the way we conduct scientific research.

In the 1950-60’s the RAND corporation developed a method of research to forecast the impact of technology on warfare (Helmer, 1967).  They gathered a group of experts and had them identify and generate ideas on what would happen.  This method is frequently utilized when no previous consensus exists on a particular topic.  The Delphi approach is helpful to build a foundation of ideas and a place to start with research, if there is little to none.

Counselor researchers have used this Delphi approach to identify key competencies in supervision and research.  It has also historically been used to identify current and upcoming ethical issues in counseling.  These steps may seem elementary, especially when looking in hindsight.  It is far from being that simple, as I am learning.

I am beginning my dissertation exploring compassion through a Delphi approach.  But rather than going to someone else to seek the answers to my questions (although ironically I am by doing a Delphi study), I am the one to speak those answers. My research is unique.  In a way, I will be like a modern-day Pythia getting ready to climb upon my tripod to prepare to dole out oracular findings.  I am excited to embark on this discovery and wonder what all I will learn.

My path on this journey is led by my faith and my education.  Both have developed me into who I am today.  Like the Indigo Girls lyrics say – “there’s more than one answer to these questions, pointing me in a crooked line”.  I simply hope the whole process will bring me closer to fine.

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