Are you having difficulty finishing your dissertation? Are you feeling stuck after trying various approaches, or panicky about the entire enterprise? If so, it is unlikely that your cognitive abilities are to blame. More likely, the culprits are anxiety, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, and the thoughts, feelings, and behavior that accompany these difficulties. This book was written to help you overcome these problems and finish your dissertation once and for all.

Combining psychological support with a project management approach that breaks tasks into small, manageable chunks, experienced dissertation coach Alison Miller shows you how to overcome negativity and succeed beyond your own expectations. You will learn how to plan and structure the dissertation process, work effectively with dissertation chairpersons and committees, and take care of yourself on the dissertation journey. Tips for mastering all of these skills are presented along with exercises to reinforce key lessons, ideas, and strategies. By the end of the process, you will not only have finished your dissertation—you will also have learned the self-confidence that comes from knowing how to stay engaged when difficulties arise and the joy that comes from accomplishment in pursuit of your personal values.

Table of Contents



  1. The Doctoral Dissertation: A Dual Challenge
  2. The Traps of Negative Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving
  3. Freeing Yourself From Thinking, Feeling, and Behaving Traps
  4. Devising Timelines: Avoiding a Breakdown by Breaking It Down
  5. Creating Weekly Action Plans: Using Structure to Your Advantage
  6. Writing and Revising Your Dissertation
  7. Working With Your Dissertation Chairperson and Committee
  8. Taking Good Care of Yourself Along the Way



Author Bio
Alison B. Miller, PhD, is the founder and owner of The Dissertation Coach, a business dedicated to helping graduate students earn doctoral and master's degrees. She has a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Cornell University. For her own dissertation study, she examined how the experience of homelessness influenced dignity and worth among homeless men and women living in shelters. She frequently leads dissertation workshops at universities around the United States. She is also the owner of Life Essentials, a company that offers life coaching and workshops. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.