Guest Faculty Post: Latino Mental Health Program immersion through UNIBE in Costa Rica

Posted on July 24,2012 by latinomentalhealth

We left Boston on Saturday morning (we were at Logan at 6 am!), stopped in Miami and arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica in the afternoon. The people from UNIBE (Universidad Iberoamericana) were ready for us at the airport and took the students to the host families and took me to the hotel. I am accompanying the students until Friday of their first week here to help them settle for what will be a month experience, and to solidify our relationship with UNIBE, as it is our first immersion experience here.


On Sunday morning we were welcomed by Dr. Roberto Rodriguez, UNIBE's Provost, and then were oriented to Costa Rica, customs, money, sites of interest, the university, as well as the schedule of the clinical rotations and the Spanish courses and other special topic lectures for the next four weeks. We were all issued white coats (which are mandatory in all clinics).

We then walked to RostiPollos, a restaurant chain with delicious food where we had our lunch. It was a great time!


Today was the first day of the clinical rotations. Since I am leaving early on Friday, I decided that I would spend today at la Clinica Neuropsicologica of UNIBE, and tomorrow I will go to a general hospital that has a psychiatric ward. I had a great time this morning at the clinic. We observed the intake sessions for three very different clients through a one-way mirror (the larger observing group had an interpreter if needed), and three students would sit in the consultation room with the psychologist. The students rotated with each client, and will continue this pattern for the two weeks they are there. After the interview, the psychologist and the 3 students would come to the larger room to discuss what transpired in the intake. The students should be able to see the whole assessment process with these three clients. Here is a picture of the students seen from the other side of the consultation room - before the client entered the room.

The other group went to Hospital Calderon Guardia.

Tomorrow I will join them there.

We have 18 students at UNIBE (a university that specializes in health sciences: psychology, medicine, pharmacy and nursing) this year. Our students come from the Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology Departments. They will be blogging about their experience through the next month. I feel privileged to have accompanied them at the beginning of their journey and look forward to hearing their stories. In the meantime, enjoy la pura vida! (Thank you for letting me guest blog in the students' blog.)

Nilda M. Clark, Psy.D. - Head of the Counseling Psychology Department and faculty in the Latino Mental Health Program