Bridging the Gap

Driving to Baños, Ecuador involved driving through the Andes Mountains, a circuitous and often anxiety- and altitude sickness-provoking trip. I kept my anxiety levels at a manageable level by looking out of the window and taking in the beautiful and awe-inspiring landscape of Ecuador: the rolling hills, the babbling brooks, the small communities, and the impressive blue sky. Many things caught my extranjera attention, including—though certainly not limited to—the alcalde election advertisements painted on the sides of buildings, the seeming affinity for volleyball, the stray dogs, the livestock tethered to posts mere inches from the highways, and the scores of restaurants and bars attempting to offer respite to travel-weary drivers. Apparently, there is a lot of cultural information to be gained by staring out of a window while fighting the headaches and nausea that can come from being so high above sea level.

These quickly-passing images made the time go by more rapidly but often left little impact in my brain other than to note that it was different from what I am used to in the United States. However, one sign in particular jarred me out of my highway hypnosis and provoked a profound and enlightening metaphor that would become an important lens through which I examined not only my trip to Ecuador, but my entire education thus far in the Latino Mental Health Program and my role as a non-native bilingual therapist. One bridge, which did not seem any more or less precarious than the others we had crossed on this lengthy road trip, was called Puente Salsipuedes, a bridge of medium length that connected two mountains across a deep valley, punctuated by a mountain stream. At first, I figured it was named after a person, but when I broke down the word into smaller pieces, my heart skipped a beat realizing we were in the middle of “Bridge Leave If You Can.” This did not inspire much confidence in the heavy bus’s ability to traverse this apparently unstable bridge or to meet whatever foes might lurk on the other side. Gratefully, we crossed the bridge safely and did not meet any untoward creatures or dangers on the road that continued. Why, then, did this little sign—clearly meant as a joke—incite such an intense response in me?

Before leaving for Ecuador, my compañeras and I met with Dra. Paola Contreras to learn about what we might expect culturally in Ecuador. She noted at one point that we “are bridging the gap between cultures”—that is the United States and Ecuador—which can be both an emotional and an intellectual experience. That bridge, Salsipuedes, struck me as a perfect metaphor for what it is like to leave the comfort and familiarity with my own cultural background and experience to immerse myself in a completely foreign culture. Before leaving for both Costa Rica last year and Ecuador this year—before crossing the bridge—my amygdala went into hyperdrive—Are you sure you want to do this? Wouldn’t you rather stay at home and relax for four weeks? This isn’t THAT essential to your education!—effectively acting like that warning sign on the bridge: Leave if you can and stay where you are at ease. There are moments when I certainly wanted to take this advice and head back the way I came.

But then my logical, rational frontal lobe would take over and calmly tell my amygdala to relax, reminding that area of my brain that I have been preparing for these trips educationally for a long time. The LMHP classes have functioned as sidewalks and handrails along the bridge, allowing me to grip onto information and experiences that would most definitely keep me feeling safe while crossing this intercultural bridge. I sometimes get knocked off balance by the wind or feel overwhelmed by the cars rushing by, but I can acclimate to these stimuli and eventually even begin to enjoy them.

Having successfully crossed Salsipuedes, completing both programs in Costa Rica and Ecuador, it feels empowering to know I survived the journey, picking up some linguistic and therapeutic tools along the way. Future bridge-crossing can allow for more integration of my native culture with the Latino cultures about which I have learned so much, and can influence my future clinical work with both Latino and non-Latino clients. That being said, there is a feeling that I missed out on something. The stream that stretches below the bridge and cuts in between the mountains is beautiful, peppered with rocks and boulders, the water looking cool and refreshing, if not a little rough. The sides of the mountains leading to this stream are tangled with trees, bushes, flowers, and probably some animals that have gone sight unseen while I clung to the handrails of the concrete bridge above. As a person who loves to take pictures, I am sure there are some breathtaking views that I would love to capture.

If the bridge has a warning, then this path below (if one exists) to the stream and back up the other side of the mountain certainly carries a stronger caution. It would be more dangerous to scale down a mountain, cross a river, and climb back up the other side, facing unknown fauna and foliage, without the security and support offered by handrails and smooth paths. But to attempt to bridge the gap in that way must be more rewarding: to be actually “in it,” experiencing first-hand the local customs, wading through the waters of values and expectations that come from generations past and will continue for many generations to come, though always changing slightly based on the curve of the river and the rocks and other detritus that influence its path. To arrive back at the top on the other side must fill a person with great pride and confidence, even though he or she may be slightly more battered from the effort. It is wit and survival that get a person through that kind of experience, with less of an impact from education, although it would certainly help to know what a person might face.

Studying abroad through the LMHP for me has been akin to walking across the bridge: while I have been able to really experience living and working in different cultures, I feel that my experiences have been more professional and intellectual than personal and “in it.” I still feel like I am lacking the conversational, colloquial Spanish that will be more essential to my work with Latino clients than the professional language that I have learned over the years (the importance of which is not lost on me). Now, I must take the initiative, which the LMHP has given me the confidence to do, to go where the bridge protects travelers and venture into the thick of culture and language, the part that is not taught in the classroom so I can hopefully be more culturally-sensitive to my clients.

Laura Zakreski

Posted in Latino Mental Health

Andrea Bedoya – Ecuador 2014

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Nuestro ultimo fin de semana en Ecuador lo dedicamos a conocer Cuenca, una ciudad antigua, y a la vez moderna, que enamora a quien la visita. Lo que mas me llamó la atención fueron las “cholas cuencanas,” indígenas de la región que con sus trajes típicos demuestran el orgullo con el que conservan la historia y tradiciones de su lugar de origen. Lamentablemente ha llegado el final de mi visita a Ecuador. Me voy con algo de nostalgia pero a la vez sintiéndome muy afortunada de haber sido testigo de la gran riqueza cultural y natural de este maravilloso país :0)

Ecuador!

Una de las cosas que me parece increíble de Ecuador es como las personas aun mantienen y sobre todo respetan costumbres y tradiciones de sus antepasados. La comida, celebraciones y vestimenta en muchos lugares aún se preserva con orgullo y tener la oportunidad de compartir esto con mi familia en Ecuador me parece realmente maravilloso.

 

Alexandra, Jessica and Elizabeth
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Ecuador 2014

Hola from Ecuador!  My time in Ecuador has been an amazing experience.  The people that I have met while here are so nice and so welcoming it makes it hard to think about leaving them.  While working at Maternidad and Foundation the people are so welcoming and you can see that they want to teach you everything they can but they also want feedback and to learn from you.  Seeing how passionate they are about the work they do here reignited my passion for becoming a therapist.  I think that it is very easy to forget why we chose to do what we are in training to do and I also think it is very easy to burnout so to see these professionals who have worked in these fields for years still so passionate about what they do was great.  Not only have the professionals been amazing but the host families have been as well.  My host family immediately took me in as another daughter and sister.  I have never felt so at home while being so far from home.  It will be very hard to say good-bye to my family at the airport but I know I have made a connection with Ecuador that will never leave me.

~Macrina

Posted in Latino Mental Health

Andrea Bedoya – Ecuador 2014

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Este fin de semana viajé a Quito. Lo que mas disfruté fue la arquitectura colonial que aun conserva esta ciudad. También visité “la mitad del mundo,” en donde pude pisar al mismo tiempo los hemisferios norte y sur del planeta! Al igual que en la costa, la gente de la sierra es amable, cariñosa, y alegre :O)

Posted in Latino Mental Health

Hola from Ecuador

Each time I embark on a new immersion adventure I am always the most nervous about potential language barriers. I obsess about my language capabilities and worry if I will be understood by locals. Fortunately, the language of compassion is something that is easily translated and understood… even in the Amazon!

The Amazonian region in Ecuador is so full of surprises. My favorite was when our group visited Centro de Rescate los Monos. The volunteers at the monkey refugee camp spoke French while the monkeys seemed only to care about eating their piñas. However, I happened upon on particular Mono who looked a little sad. Even though we were not able to speak the same language we were drawn to each other. He wanted to tell his story and I wanted to listen.

The video that follows is a short snippet of the conversation. He was so expressive and I was so willing to understand. Because of that, there was no language barrier. (This realization and experience served me well once we began working with client the following week.)

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/50436460/MOV_3299.mov

–Jess (with Alex and Elizabeth)

Posted in Clinical PsyD, Latino Mental Health, Social Responsibility

Zully Lizarazo, Costa Rica

Un poco de cultura para los amantes de la historia, ayer fue un dia muy emocionante cuando paseabamos por la ciudad capitalina de Costa Rica, San jose. Entre tantas maravillas, visitamos el museo nacional que se encuentra en el downtown de San Jose, un lugar muy agradable y peculiar por su historia. El museo fue fundado en 1887 durante el gobierno del presidente Bernardo Soto con el fin de estudiar productos naturales y artisticos, desde entonces ah sido parte de la herencia cultural costarisence. PURA VIDA.

Museo Nacional

Museo Nacional

Costa Rica and San Jose – Cat

Hello,

It’s Wednesday and we officially only have 10 more days in Costs Rica. The time has flown by. Veronica added a beautiful post about our time in Manuel Antonio, and the beaches and our time spent there. Unfortunately, the majority of our group somehow came in contact with a pretty intense stomach bug and five out of the seven us have fallen ill this week. It took a while, but almost everyone is now on antibiotics and are on the mend. Yesterday UNIBE took us on a tour of San Jose, showing us the Teatro Nacional, the Museo Nacional, and the Mercado de los Artesanos. The Teatro Nacional is a beautiful theatre detailed in gold-leaf and paintings on canvas. The seats reminded me of the seats at Fenway, although more ornate, since they are removable and have metal backs and arms. The Theater is small, containing only 1,400 seats, but holds its own as one of San Jose’s treasures. The Museo Nacional contains much of San Jose’s history archived in photos and within its building structure. The highlight (at least for me) was the Butterfly Garden that begins and ends the tour. At first we had a hard time finding the butterflies (for a minute I wondered if it was just a plan garden), but slowly the butterflies emerged and flew slowly around the garden. The colors of the butterflies alone were worth the trip. The Mercado de los Artesanos is busy, extremely crowded and a little overwhelming, but also a great experience! Vendors greet everyone who walks by and encourages them into their stalls. Bargaining is a must for everyone, but as we discovered the vendors were more open to negotiating with the men of the group. I’m not sure if it was their fluidity in Spanish, gender, or negotiating skills, but they walked away paying far lower prices than most of the ladies in the group! At about 3am this morning we experienced yet another “tremble” in the earth. It lasted less time, but was stronger – people here are saying it was a magnitude 4.8, but lasted only several seconds so there was no damage. Just a little bit of adrenaline in the middle of the night! Tomorrow we look forward to our second hypnosis class, in which our teacher promises to try and bring us back to the moment of our births. Some of us are skeptical, but we are all curious. We are sending healing vibes to our friends who are working on feeling better physically.   More Soon! Cat

Costa Rica and San Jose

Hello,

It’s Wednesday and we officially only have 10 more days in Costs Rica. The time has flown by. Veronica added a beautiful post about our time in Manuel Antonio, and the beaches and our time spent there. Unfortunately, the majority of our group somehow came in contact with a pretty intense stomach bug and five out of the seven us have fallen ill this week. It took a while, but almost everyone is now on antibiotics and are on the mend.

Yesterday UNIBE took us on a tour of San Jose, showing us the Teatro Nacional, the Museo Nacional, and the Mercado de los Artesanos. The Teatro Nacional is a beautiful theatre detailed in gold-leaf and paintings on canvas. The seats reminded me of the seats at Fenway, although more ornate, since they are removable and have metal backs and arms. The Theater is small, containing only 1,400 seats, but holds its own as one of San Jose’s treasures.

The Museo Nacional contains much of San Jose’s history archived in photos and within its building structure. The highlight (at least for me) was the Butterfly Garden that begins and ends the tour. At first we had a hard time finding the butterflies (for a minute I wondered if it was just a plan garden), but slowly the butterflies emerged and flew slowly around the garden. The colors of the butterflies alone were worth the trip.

The Mercado de los Artesanos is busy, extremely crowded and a little overwhelming, but also a great experience! Vendors greet everyone who walks by and encourages them into their stalls. Bargaining is a must for everyone, but as we discovered the vendors were more open to negotiating with the men of the group. I’m not sure if it was their fluidity in Spanish, gender, or negotiating skills, but they walked away paying far lower prices than most of the ladies in the group!

At about 3am this morning we experienced yet another “tremble” in the earth. It lasted less time, but was stronger – people here are saying it was a magnitude 4.8, but lasted only several seconds so there was no damage. Just a little bit of adrenaline in the middle of the night!

Tomorrow we look forward to our second hypnosis class, in which our teacher promises to try and bring us back to the moment of our births. Some of us are skeptical, but we are all curious.

We are sending healing vibes to our friends who are working on feeling better physically.

 

More Soon!

Cat

Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching helps prepare you for ICF coach certification

The GCEC positions graduates for certification by the International Coach Federation (ICF), checking the boxes on a number of important requirements. For coaches who don’t have a clinical or counseling degree, the ICF certification can assure clients that the coach has been trained in theory, practice, and professional standards.

All of the following requirements for ICF Associate Coach Certification or ACC are met during through the GCEC program.

Mentoring

The ICF requires coaches to receive ten hours of mentor coaching. During the GCEC practicum, supervisor coaches and the professor of the practicum provide more than ten hours of mentoring to students.

This experience is so valuable that some of my colleagues seek out mentor coaches at important points in their career. Mentors or supervisors can help you see you blind spots, give special attention to a competency that needs development, or help you expand your range of coaching approaches.

ICF expects you to deliver a mentor log that captures the coach’s name, ICF c
redential, hours of mentoring, and period during which mentoring took place. You may want to start keep a log during the practicum.

Coach specific trainingCertification matters to some clients

ICF requires coaches to complete 60 hours of coaching training. The GCEC meets this requirement.

MSPP is in regular dialogue with accreditation officials at ICF to ensure that the Executive Coaching certificate teaches theory, practice, and professional hardstand aligned with ICF’s eleven core coaching competencies. Because the ICF certification application is designed for people trained at different institutions, you’ll be asked to attest to having studied each of the competencies. For graduates of the GCEC, check yes for all.

Additional requirements

Client coaching hours

ICF requires 100 coaching hours with at least eight clients. Seventy five of 100 hours must be with paid clients. Though this sounds challenging, you’ll begin to coach clients informally almost from the start of the GCEC. These informal hours may be pro-bono. In some cases, in-kind payment or a nominal fee may allow your coaching hours to qualify as paid hours. The professor of the practicum can offer more advice about this. Start logging coaching hours from the start of the program. It’s a valuable exercise and a foundation for habits of a professional coach.  Find and download a sample client log at ICF.

I was able to deliver the number of coaching hours ICF requires within a few months after graduation. One of my colleagues reached out to business colleagues and offered them a competitively low fee for coaching and an invitation to help her work toward ICF certification. More than enough of them were eager to help as well as to take advantage of her coaching. She also collected the number of needed hours in a short time after graduation.

Coach Knowledge Assessment

This comprehensive assessment was introduced in April 2014. After submitting the certification application, ICF sends an invitation to complete the 155-question test within 60 days.

The assessment is designed to confirm the coach’s knowledge: knowledge of theory and standards, awareness of common issues, ability to apply the ICF competencies. All of the questions are based on its definition of coaching, the core competencies, and the code of ethics. Though all questions are multiple choice, some require you to identify the best response to “a scenario that requires deeper understanding.”

Emily Williams, ICF Senior Credentialing Coordinator, says, “The purpose of the test is to confirm what coaches know, not to test their ability to second-guess tricky questions. The best way to prepare is to review the coaching definition, code of ethics, and core competencies

Resources

In addition to self study, after becoming an ICF member through application for certification, you’ll have access to virtual education calls.  There are many recorded session teleseminars, including a more than one on Code of Ethics and Competencies.

Posted in Executive Coaching