Tag Archives: Romania

Solving the problem of isolation among counselors around the world

Last night, Diane Langberg, myself, and AACC hosted a small meeting of friends interested in starting counseling associations in their home countries. We had visitors from Romania, Ukraine, Lebanon, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, and Rwanda. Each representative gave a bit of a status

A few of the attendees

A few of the attendees

update for their country.  Each of these countries has Christian counseling activities (counseling, training, etc.) underway in their country and each wants to  be better able to hold these counselors to a higher standard of skill and ethics. Some of the countries have formed associations and are applying for government recognition. Others are in the process and are looking for more help in developing association standards.

But the problem of isolation may not be solved by an association. Each person who spoke raised 2 serious concerns:

  1. Our secular colleagues think we are not professionals but merely faith healing quacks
  2. Our pastor friends think we are not really Christian because we have studied psychology and counseling

It is apparent that we need to do a better job to communicate and illustrate how Christian counseling can be biblically AND psychologically sound. If we do not, any association built will merely become a ghetto. This is not to say that we shouldn’t build associations. The opposite is true. But, unless we learn to speak theologically about the nature and purpose of counseling, we likely won’t get very far.

Reducing Isolation with Technology?

I’m curious if anyone might have ideas about the best way to have these friends stay in contact and to share documents that might help each other develop their own associations. We have a number of ethics codes here in the US but I imagine that some significant portion of those codes may not be appropriate in other contexts. If our friends in Ghana develop an ethics code, wouldn’t it be great if they could easily share it with associations in other African countries. So, is there an existing, SIMPLE, low-bandwidth, platform out there that works best for staying in touch and sharing items and yet is protected by login?

I long for the day when those who are resource rich (content) will be willing to freely distribute to brothers and sisters around the world, and that day when we all eschew holding tightly to those resources in order to build our own kingdom. I am indeed grateful for the leadership AACC is taking in bringing these individuals together and to resource them in some very generous ways! May we all follow suit!

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Filed under AACC, christian counseling, Christianity: Leaders and Leadership

Global Trauma Recovery Intensive: Day 1

20 students along with myself and Dr. Diane Langberg just finished a 3 day marathon together at Biblical’s Hatfield campus. This inaugural cohort has been studying together via our e-campus since January. We’ve read books, articles, watched slides shows, and discussed a wide variety of topics (e.g., the psychological, social, spiritual, biological impact of trauma, shame, culture, strengths-based listening skills, and faith and psychological intervention strategies). At this meeting, we continued to consider how to listen andGTRI - First Graduating Class respond to traumatized individuals in places other than our own.

Morning Session: Romania

Our morning consisted of a live engagement (thank you Google Hangout!) with mental health practitioners in Romania. Dr. Ileana Radu and Stefana Racorean hosted the meeting. The Romanian contingent consisted of mental health therapists, psychiatrists, and Christian leaders. As part of their conference, they took time out to ask us questions about trauma, trauma recovery interventions, and integration of psychology and Christian faith practices. In return, we asked them about the mental health scene in Romania, the most common forms of trauma and intervention models in their practices. From our conversations, it appears that they experience a significant divide between secular mental health models or “bible only or prayer only” models.

The conversation bolstered our students understanding of Romanian culture and put a human face to what they had read about regarding torture trauma resulting from pre-revolution days in that country. In addition, students had the opportunity to discuss a couple of PTSD cases written up by mental health practitioners in the conference.

The entire conversation and connection (bridge, according to our new Romanian friends) was the result of Dr. Langberg’s inability to travel to Romania in April. She was to be their keynote speaker but due to the death of her mother, she was unable to attend. The conference was rescheduled and Dr. Langberg spoke via SKYPE and previously recorded DVDs.

Afternoon Session: North Philadelphia

Elizabeth Hernandez, executive director and founder of Place of Refuge, led our afternoon session by giGTRI - appendix photoving us a window into the trauma work going in North Philadelphia among the latino population. She shared with us some of the groundbreaking work they are doing with low-income population who have experienced many traumas. The class also engaged around the matter of syncretism (Catholic faith practices mixed with witchcraft and other superstitions) and how faith-based counseling services are delivered.

We ended the day with some brief use of video to “listen” to trauma stories in Eastern Europe and the US. After these engagements, we had our students explore writing their own laments as means to connect with God and concluded with a corporate lament. The purpose of lament is to confess (one’s own sin or the sins of others!), converse with God and others, question God about what we see that is not the way it is supposed to be, and by questioning acknowledge hope in God that he is in the process of redeeming and rescuing a broken world. Lament is not a tool to get better but to connect to each other and to talk to God about our suffering.

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Filed under Abuse, Biblical Seminary, christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling skills, Diane Langberg, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, trauma, Uncategorized