Take a look at this interesting discussion with Dr. Covino about MSPP, the mental health field, and MSPPs innovative academic approaches.
Take a look at this interesting discussion with Dr. Covino about MSPP, the mental health field, and MSPPs innovative academic approaches.
Sometimes I feel grateful to work in schools- I notice friends and family around me catching various forms of sniffles and colds while I generally remain healthy. I am sure this could be contributed to a myriad of things, but I always believe that the constant exposure to the stickiness that is an elementary school has built up my immune system to the point where it must get bored.
Unfortunately, this week my little white cells must have been on a (probably well earned) vacation. I felt the “pre cold” symptoms immediately. My mouth was dry, my throat scratchy, and I had a headache that throbbed steadily right behind my eyes. I am not one for the drink mix remedies- I go straight for the heavy hitters, popping a cold pill immediately and try to work through the symptoms.
This time, however, whatever got me knocked me out cold. I ended up missing multiple days at my site as I struggled to retain a sense of humanity amid the coughing, sneezing, achy mess that I had become. When I finally was able to return I had multiple items to catch up on, students to see, and parents to contact. On top of this accumulation of tasks, my head was still a bit fuzzy and my energy level was somewhere between a tortoise and snail. Which only made the amount of work I had more overwhelming.
I have been fortunate enough to be a happy, positive person who genuinely enjoys a sense of accomplishment for doing good works. Those first few days back, though, reminded me of what it might be like to suffer from a form of depression: body aches, low energy, lack of focus, and a feeling that there is no relief from the work. I, at least, could console myself with the thought that my cold would pass. But I as the symptoms leave I find myself left with a renewed sense of sympathy and understanding for those suffering with depression.
When I got into my car this morning, the temperature read 10°. That’s right, 10° on March 6. What is going on? I mean, shouldn’t it be warming up by now? Where is Spring!?
Now don’t get me wrong, I may one of the few people out there that love Winter. Autumn is my absolute favorite season, and Boston is beautiful in the fall. But Winter is a close second in my books. However, at this point, I am sick of it. I don’t know about you, but I need some sun in my life.
The forecast says it should be in the 50s this weekend, but you really can’t ever trust New England weather. The official start of Spring is March 20th. So as we count down the days until then, there a few things we can do to try to beat the Winter blues.
I’m a big believer in wearing bright clothes. I personally am drawn to “loud” colors, such as yellow, orange and red. Simply put, the colors make me happy and add a little sunshine to my day. I associate these colors with cheerful, sunny days. Our days for the past few months have been cold, bleak and dark, so I think you cannot go wrong with some color. You don’t have to change your entire wardrobe, but I suggest adding a little color into your outfit because it can drastically change your outlook.
Music also has the power of setting the tone. You may find your mood becomes positive when jamming out to fun music while driving into work or school. A good rhythm can be infectious. When I was in undergraduate school, sometimes, I would listen to “All I do Is Win” before exams by DJ Khaled to psyche myself up. It would work wonders to ease my anxiety and I would go into the exam feeling confident. My favorite song right now is “Happy” by Pharrell Williams; you can’t help but smile when you hear it, I promise you.
I find that, typically, around this time, people, especially graduate students, tend to become highly irritable, easily agitated, overly stressed, and just ready for a new adventure. I was becoming bored with the everyday routine and needed a new outlet, so I did something crazy the other day. I decided to take Aerial Silk classes for 2 months. Mind you, I’ve never taken a dance course of any kind, so this is completely new to me, but I wanted to try something out of the ordinary. As a biologist, I find the human body to beautiful, and I’ve always been drawn to Contemporary movement pieces. When I found this studio in Somerville that offers beginners classes, I just knew I owed it to myself to give it a shot. I am very anxious about the ordeal, but I am excited because I know that as much as I will struggle trying to learn how to become comfortable hanging upside down on just a piece of fabric, it will be fun no matter what.
As Wayne Gretzy once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Maybe aerial arts may not be your thing, but I suggest you take the steps needed to cross one thing off your bucket list. It will be rejuvenating and it can provide that last rush of adrenaline you need to get through the next few weeks.
I hope adding some color, dancing to music, and signing up for an adventure help get rid of the Winter blues! Here’s to sunnier days, that I promise you are just around the corner.
Please note that Dr. Robert Dingman is hosting a training event around mental health needs of veterans and their families at MSPP on April 18th. Please see details in the attached video, or http://www.mspp.edu.
I am originally from The Gambia (In western Africa) where I practiced journalism. My writings brought me a lot of trouble as I was arrested and tortured by state security agents on several occasions. One day, my name was listed as a target for killing by the regime and I had to immediately embark on an escape journey. I have recently published a book, Africa’s Hell on Earth, chronicling my escape journey.
When I came to Rhode Island in May 2007, I felt reborn. It was a new world for me in many ways: I had just arrived in the United States; I never heard the name Rhode Island until a day before my arrival; I was brought in by the United States government as a refugee which means I did not prepare for my coming. It happened abruptly.
I also did not have family or friends. It was not easy. I had to start everything about my life from scratch. I therefore found a lot of meaning in altruism and education. I enrolled in school, and started an advocacy group of fellow refugees creating awareness about better resettlement methods and housing placements.
My advocacy brought me into contact with Dr. Richard Mollica of Harvard University, the pioneer of the Global Mental Health movement. I was given a scholarship to undergo a six-month program in GMH-Trauma and Recovery at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. Then I was given a scholarship opportunity to enroll at MSPP as a means of continuing my studies in the GMH field. I find myself lucky to be availed with all these opportunities. Despite all the things I have gone through, I envision light at the end of the tunnel. I love the GMH program and the MSPP campus and learning environment – the faculty, students, and staff are all excellent resources. I therefore thank everyone who is supporting me through this journey.
A few months ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Jackie Gagliardi, who is a part of the core faculty here at MSPP and the coordinator of the Couples and Family Therapy program. I am currently taking Collaborative Therapy with Multistressed Families and Professor Gagliardi is a wonderful teacher on this subject. She holds many years in this field under her belt, and with that comes a multitude of experiences and stories. Professor Gagliardi is a licensed marriage and family therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant and co-author of Study-Guide for the Marriage and Family Therapy National Licensing Examination. She holds a Master’s in Education in Counseling and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Family Systems from Northeastern University.
For many years, Professor Gagliardi worked as a play therapist for children, and overtime she noticed that, although the children would initially improve, they would eventually come back, because the family was not working together as a unit. She realized that the work she was doing with an individual could only go so far, unless the family was brought in and everyone made an agreement to cooperate. This motivated her to pursue a CAGS in Family Systems. She also had the unique opportunity of training at the Family Institute in Cambridge, MA.
Professor Gagliardi has had a private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts for 33 years specializing in individual, couple and family therapy. She also has had a consulting business, in which she had the opportunity to connect with schools, family owned business and clinics, including community agencies. While juggling all of this, she has run numerous parent groups and teacher workshops and been a critical part of Kantor Family Institute in Cambridge. Professor Gagliardi was involved in the founding of The Family Solutions Institute, which grew out of Kantor Family Institute.
Her experiences as a therapist helped drive her to teach future clinicians. She was the co-director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Cambridge College and an adjunct faculty member of the Andover Newton Theological School and at Wheelock College. She became a part of the MSPP community five years ago and is actively involved in every part of the CFT program here. In fact, she serves as an advisor to many of the CFT students, including myself.
When designing the CFT concentration at MSPP, Professor Gagliardi and the other team members decided to name the program “Couples and Family Therapy” instead of the traditional “Marriage and Family Therapy.” Professor Gagliardi advocated for this unique title because she wanted to acknowledge that the definition of relationships is changing and that there all many types of couples. “You do not need to be married to seek therapy,” she commented and specifying marriage in the title would not honor other relationships and this societal change.
Professor Gagliardi is driven by her desire to help people, thus she also finds the time to be a member of the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health. As a part of this team, she is advocating for consumers and their protection and serves as the representatives of Marriage and Family Therapists on the board. She has the distinct chance to review applications for licensure in different disciplines.
She suggests that prospective and current students in family therapy programs should definitely go for all the way and apply for licensure as an LMFT, especially now that Massachusetts has given vendorship to LMFT’s. This means that LMFT’s can now bill insurances for the work they do, which is crucial to our progress. “Now that we have vendorship, the field will be growing and there will be an increase in jobs, especially due to Children’s Initiative, and in wraparound services and home based work,” she says.
Professor Gagliardi also recommends that therapists work to continue their education, even after they graduate. She advises that attending workshops and conferences are not only great networking tools, but also excellent ways to introduce balance into your life.
When asked about her many projects and what they mean to her, Professor Gagliardi remarks, “I am really excited because my passion is to train couples and family therapists to serve the underserved and to become competent and culturally sensitive therapists.”
Professor Gagliardi previously served as a board member of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and back in November, MSPP hosted the MAMFT board members, who spoke with CFT students regarding career opportunities. MSPP also hosted MFT program directors for their quarterly meeting.
“I love what I do and the thing I love the most is to be able to help people communicate and find a way to live their preferred lives. I think of all the times I have met with people and how in the end, we worked to find a way to improve the quality of their life. However small or large the change was, it was contributing to their quality of life, and I had a unique hand in that,” Professor Gagliardi remarks. Her passion is not only evident in her impressive criterion but also in the stories she shares with her students. She is knowledgeable, compassionate and encouraging, and I am honored to have the opportunity to train under her guidance.
Anxiety is a part of everyone’s life from the moment we are born, and is generally produced from some form of change. Generally connoting negative emotion and outcome, anxiety is synonymous with stress which many of us have come to believe is not a “good” thing.
At birth, you’re no longer in the womb. This is a stressful change.
You graduate high school and are suddenly “on your own” facing many new experiences and challenges. Anxiety in some form or another will probably ensue.
Your work organization undergoes significant structural modifications. Change to the environmental norm at work can be scary.
However, have you ever considered the positive attributes of stress?
Take a deadline for instance. For procrastinators, deadlines act as positive stress, creating necessary anxiety. The anxiety of meeting a deadline forces them (okay, “us”) to get things done; I think we can all agree that getting things done is a good thing.
Without deadlines, some people will never finish projects [in a timely manner] or arrive to appoints in time, or give presents for their loved ones on an annual basis (a birthday can serve as deadline).
In a business setting, anxiety too can be used to the benefit of the organization.
This notion is an underutilized if not completely ignored strategy in many workplaces because anxiety is most often forged by and maintained with negative influence. It is usually derived from circumstances that force knee-jerk reactions out of fear or pressure, versus deliberate pro-activity born from solid strategic planning and communication.
Companies which are well-versed in transformational change have cracked the code on delivering urgency (basically meaning a “deadline” for achieving rapid change) and creating positive anxiety to their advantage.
At such a point, employees are not solely, negatively impacted by the stress, but rather energized by it. It drives them to achieve the goals set forth by the change, and eventually anxiety is surpassed by positive outcomes.
Those organizations that can learn to quickly adapt to constantly evolving external and internal environments are those that use the anxiety that comes with change as a force multiplier.
Can you think of areas in your life where stress or anxiety can be used to your advantage?
Our Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department recently hosted a “Breaking In” workshop for current students and alumni. These 4 Top Tips For Interviewing were provided by MSPP Organizational Psychology Alumni, Marge Dupere and Dennis Woodruff.
Our Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department recently hosted a “Breaking In” workshop for current students and alumni. These 3 top tips on Linked In were provided by MSPP Organizational Psychology Alumna, Leto Papadopoulos.