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El Fin

Posted on August 21,2012 by latinomentalhealth

This is Kiley, Jill, and Lisa blogging at the conclusion of our trip to Costa Rica.
As our time in Costa Rica draws to a close, we have come to a number of conclusions about the experience that we are excited to share. It is, however, difficult to articulate ours experience fully, as the act of immersing oneself in another culture for four weeks has great implications that will no doubt extend far beyond today.
While one of our main goals in coming to Costa Rica was to enhance our Spanish speaking abilities for use in a clinical setting, one unanticipated factor that was gleaned from our immersion experience is realizing the ways in which elements of the culture of a developing country permeate all areas of life for the people. While we have found that, in many ways, Costa Rica offers its citizens access to sufficient (often excellent) mental health care, education, and other social services, there are indeed areas in which the systems struggle to meet the need efficiently and effectively. The system is complex and bound by many sociocultural factors that we would not have formerly recognized as contenders.
We do not mean to say that the system is entirely flawed or that the people are consistently for want or need of services. We mean to say that in our analysis of the system, we need to keep in mind that Costa Rica is a developing country and has challenges of a developing country. We also cannot forget that we are observing from the lens of Students from the United States. Many Ticos with whom we spoke had wonderful stories of success with the healthcare and/or education system. We were also reminded that the Costa Rican people are living to ages that often exceed average lifespans of people in the United States.
We have been so consistently impressed by the skills, intellect, compassion, interest, hospitality, and honesty that we have witnessed in the people we have interacted with during our time here. One example of the compassion of the Costa Ricans was with a child and mother at the UNIBE clinic. The child was receiving Cognitive Evaluation and the mother needed to bring her to the clinic on five separate occasions for the assessment. After the third session, the mother, who is a house keeper, was nervous she would lose her job if she missed any additional days at work. The clinician changed her times and extended sessions in order to accommodate the needs of the family.
At times, it has been difficult to witness the ways in which personal and professional lives are impacted by the limitations that life in Costa Rica imposes. However, for every one of those times, we have been impressed by the great importance placed on securing and maintaining good health (both physical and mental) for the people of a country that struggles so financially.
In short, the experience has been far more thought provoking than we could have anticipated. We arrived hoping to speak better Spanish and we are departing with a host of new ideas and impressions about mental healthcare in Latin America. Thanks for following our blog! Until next year!

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Adios from Ecuador

Posted on August 18,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Buenos Noches MSPP, this is John Pratico blogging during our last night in Guayaquil, Ecuador. We have had an incredible, amazing experience that none of us will likely forget. Last night, we went out to a local restaurant with Carla and Kelly's host family and were given our last servings of ceviche, platanos fritos (fried plantain chips) and arroz con carne. All of the dishes were delicious, as well as the impromptu salsa dancing lessons that followed.

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Semana #3

Posted on August 14,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Hola aqui le escribimos Carla, Eleonora y Oren. Otra semana llena de aprendizaje, aqui en Costa Rica. Durante esta semana tuvimos la oportunidad de asistir a la escuela de la comunidad Miguel Obregon, hacer rotaciones en el Hospital Calderon Guardia, recibir clases de hipnosis con la Dr. Paula Llobet y hasta de disfrutar de un fin de semana de ensueño en los bellos paisajes de Costa Rica.

Comenzamos esta semana visitando la escuela Miguel Obregon, donde tuvimos la experiencia de interactuar y convivir por varias horas con ninos de primaria. Ademas de sentirnos ninos por un dia y llenos de energia, pudimos ser testigos de la experiencia educativa que los estudiantes de Costa Rica aprenden, juegan, y hasta interactuan unos con otros. Algo que desperto mucho mi atención fue el observar la madurez y el nivel de capacidad que tenían muchos de estos estudiantes de primer, segundo y cuarto grado, que tuvimos la oportunidad de observar durante estos días. Por otra parte, pudimos observar la gran diferencia entre escuelas en los Estados Unidos y esta escuela aquí, en Costa Rica. Algunas de las diferencias que pudimos ver es el gran nivel de ninos que repiten el grado y la ausencia de personal cualificado para trabajar con ninos con deficiencias. Claro, esto es algo que se puede observar en muchas partes del mundo, e incluso en los Estados Unidos, pero esto solo habla de la gran necesidad de recursos que muchas veces podemos notar países latinoamericanos en desarrollo. En definitiva, la experiencia en la escuela fue increíble, y me hizo sentir útil y muy feliz el jugar y compartir con los ninos.

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Final Reflections of Costa Rica

Posted on August 14,2012 by latinomentalhealth

This is Becca W, Valerie, and Zach checking in and writing their last entry from Costa Rica.

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Tagged Latino Mental Health

Semana 3: Terapia Rápida y Eficaz

Posted on August 14,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Hola, somos Marisol, Curt, y Rebecca T. desde San José, Costa Rica después de acabar el tercer semana. Estuvimos en el clínica neuropsicológico observando terapia individual de adultos y también evaluaciones psicológicos con tres niños de varias edades. También tuvimos una clase de meditación e imágenes guilladas. Dos clientes de esta semana tenía problemas distintas pero las psicóloga utilizó el mismo tratamiento para los dos. Una de los clientes tenía problemas con el insomnio y la otra con una fobia profunda y debilitante.

La psicóloga decidió usar estos tratamientos inmediatamente en las primeras sesiones para darles habilidades en controlar su propio nivel de ansiedad. También les dio un disco de relajación hecho por la psicóloga para que ellas pudieran empezar a relajarse con su voz después de la entrevista. La doctora nos explicó que en Costa Rica, típicamente, se atienden los clientes sólo entre tres a seis sesiones. Por está razón es muy importante proveer las técnicas o habilidades necesarias para realizar cambios lo más pronto sea posible.

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Week 3 Costa Rica

Posted on August 13,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Hello,
This is Lisa, Jill and Kiley giving you an update on our immersion trip in Costa Rica. We had a very busy week visiting the neuropsychological clinic at UNIBE, learning and improving our Spanish, volunteering at an elementary school, and attending a lecture on mental health in Costa Rica. Given that other students have focused their blog on the neuropsychological rotation and the lecture, this blog will primary focus on our time volunteering at the elementary school.

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Education in Ecuador: Week three by Carla

Posted on August 13,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Three weeks into our experience in Ecuador and our group spent time in an elementary school. The classrooms were divided by grades but there were no windows and the doors opened to a courtyard shared by everyone. The teachers were eager to have MSPP students evaluating some of their children. We were limited in the time we spent evaluating each child with each visit lasting about thirty minutes. With so much work to be done, I hope that our experience this year can be built upon by future Latino Mental Health participants. Similar to my experience at the Crecer Foundation, my time at the elementary school strengthened my belief that despite all our differences culturally and otherwise, as humans, we have more similarities than differences. The children were playful and fun to spend time with.

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Tagged Latino Mental Health

Escuela Velazco Ibarra & Banos

Posted on August 13,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Buenos dias. This is Kelly reporting from Ecuador.

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Tagged Latino Mental Health

Hypnosis with Dr. Paula Llobert

Posted on August 13,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Greetings from Costa Rica! This is Tatiana, Alexandra, and Jessica reporting in on Week 3 of our immersion. This week during our clinical session, Dr. Paula Llobert instructed us in the art of hypnosis and guided imagery. I (Tatiana) have never been a fan of hypnosis, but that could have been due to my lack of knowledge about it. When individuals think of the word hypnosis, more than often an image of a doctor waving a watch on a string in front of a half-sleeping patient comes to mind. Many of us have also been to hypnotist shows in which a panel of individuals are hypnotized and then told to do ridiculous things at the sound of a bell. What many individuals do not know are the skills required to deepen a patient into a state of trance in which they feel more in-tune with themselves.

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Juvenile Detention Center

Posted on August 10,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Hola! This is Dot, Brian, and Elena reporting from San José, Costa Rica. This week we had the opportunity to take a tour of the largest juvenile detention center in Costa Rica and learn more about the Costa Rican justice system. The center houses over 200 inmates, nearly all of which are male. Although it is a juvenile facility, minors who turn 18 during their sentence are permitted to finish out their term at the center. Therefore, this center is home to 12 year old inmates as well as some in their late 20s. Our guide described some of the challenges posed by having such a wide range of ages in one facility. Not only are there different living quarters for minors and adults, but they also make an effort to keep them separate during most daily activities. She informed us that they are hoping that the law will be revised soon, as it is very difficult to meet the educational, medical, and psychological needs of such a wide range of ages.

Another interesting fact that we learned about the Costa Rican justice system is that, unlike in the United States, there is no such thing as a “life sentence” in Costa Rica. The maximum sentence for any crime committed by an adult is 50 years in prison, and the maximum sentence for any crime committed by a minor is 15 years in prison. We were somewhat surprised to hear that the two most common crimes that had landed juveniles in the detention center were robbery and homicide. However, our guide explained to us that because the maximum penalty is so much less severe for minors, it is not uncommon for children to be paid by adults to commit homicides.

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Tagged Latino Mental Health