Photo by Tony Cece

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wednesday, June 25

At this point three days into our trip for some of us, the mentality of entering the field with a clinical perspective is settling in. A big realization that we are all encountering is that clinical mental health counseling has many facets. The power of therapy has broken down barriers through simplistic forms such as blowing bubbles, flying paper airplanes, or playing with puppets. Together as a team we have learned from the elderly, adolescents, children, police officers, and the culture. The elderly have given us a sense of how fragile life is and to love now. The adolescents have given us a new appreciation to our education and the possibilities that can open. The children have reminded us the importance of being a child and to leave the cares of the adults to the adults. The police officers, enlightened us to the vast differences of their rankings, their lack of being valued or appreciated, and the differences in the law system. Learning about the culture is on a daily basis, for example, how families open up to you once there is a sense of trust, and the roles that children play in families can potentially in certain situations mean taking the role of an adult. The lasting impact we have made through each of these populations has been through the efforts of group counseling, individual counseling, supervision, and even play therapy with various techniques intermingled. The Smiles organization has definitely set the foundation for love, care, and equipping the Romanians and Gypsies. Today’s evening had a lovely close with the Smiles foundation leading in worship, a time of devotional, and a presentation of how Smiles has reached out to the needy throughout various times.  

Each group did the following:
Dr. Arveson’s Team:
Went to a school in a local town, Tileagd. Since the beginning our team learning experience has been to be fluid and this team did just that. They went with the anticipation and preparation for a presentation and quickly found that was not the need for this group. Instead they were broken into two groups and given the task to entertain and teach the children for about 3 hours each. The team pulled together their experience and creativity by using puppets, rocks, and reading stories to the children; including reading stories in Romanian.

Lem’s Team:
Went to the Smile’s nursing home where they implemented one on one counseling and even supervision. One of their encounters included an individual who presented suicidal ideation and even expressed the intention to kill her husband. At this age the elderly are aware of their fragility and how live is but a vapor here today and gone tomorrow. Certain individuals were captivated by their instant connection that was built and the affection that quickly grew by simply being in their presence for a day. As one elderly stated to one of the members, “Don’t go, don’t leave me.” That is a true reflection of a bond that was formed.

Dr. Harris Team:
Adventured on family visits that included minor obstacles such as getting stuck in a ditch and then having to get pulled out by a truck. Once they overcame this minor setback they went into homes some of which were provided by Smiles. Some of the issues that families were struggling with included grief and loss, finances, and paying back loans. Psychological interventions were provided at the domestic violence home. While some members were addressing the needs of the adults others were engaging the children in play by using bubbles, puppets, and paper airplanes.

Dr. Keyes team:

Directly connected with the police officers in Oradea through presentations done by Dr. Keyes, Josue, and Beth on negotiating and communication skills. We also broke into groups which involved some role playing and group discussion with relative examples to the Romania culture. While we were attempting to use our examples of situations in which proper negotiating would be valuable we quickly found out that our examples in America were not applicable in Romania. Through this we learned different ways of how to meet them where they are at. We were broken into three different groups and each group had a different outcome, for one compassion fatigue was a major component, for others, their specific role or rank was detrimental to the learning experience. Throughout all of this we were able to piece things together to effectively equip them as well as learn from them. 

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