At the finish line
After years of planning, months of training the team members, and days of long hours and intense experiences, we finally can say that our work here is done...for now. I am awestruck at the impact that a diverse group of people, with one vision, can make in such a short period of time. On the last day, Dr. Keyes and Lemuel Williams wrapped up the EMDR training, and the end of the day was full of attendants, one after the other, publicly stating their gratitude for GCAT coming to provide such relevant and timely training and education. Dr. Erwin's team at the prison ended on a "mountain top" after contending with high levels of anger, defensiveness, and suspicion initially. The team members were given beautiful sculptures of flowers, animals, and fish in a reef, made out of soap, created by the inmates. The prison officers relayed their own feelings of thankfulness for the team members who listened when no one else would and for additional skills to enhance their personal lives and family functioning. Dr. Harris closed out the week with Operation Salvation with a full day of counseling with individuals and a large group of girls. Everyone was able to use their therapy skills as the community rushed to use the last day we were available.
During a debrief, Dr. Keyes shared momentous news. The government of Trinidad and Tobago has opened their doors to the Green Cross and is going to begin requiring their trauma workers to obtain certification through GCAT. They are partnering with GCAT to deploy disaster relief workers from their country and from America when they are needed. Not only that, but Dr. Keyes is going to assist in facilitating the establishment of a licensure process for counselors in Trinidad and Tobago. In the states, we take it for granted that our medical and mental health professionals have an across-the-board standard to which we are held. There are regulatory laws and steep consequences when we do not follow our code of ethics or the law. In Trinidad and Tobago, however, those processes are not in place, contributing to a general feeling of mistrust of those who are in the mental health field. The team is amazed at the fact that the government is taking these steps. Not only this, but Dr. Keyes shared that GCAT has been invited to Boston to participate in discussion regarding the atrocities being committed in Sudan. Multiple chapters and training centers are going to be opened across the country as more GCAT members become official trainers. The work is finished for this trip, but there is much more to come.
Now for some rest and relaxation after traveling to Tobago...
Amanda N. Trent, Psy.D.