Costa Rica: Week Two

Posted on August 07,2012 by latinomentalhealth

Buenos dias a todos! This is Eleonora, Carla, and Oren reporting from Costa Rica.


In our practicum at the testing clinic, we continued testing the clients from last week and observed two 90-minute REBT therapy sessions with new clients. One 22-year old male came in for consultation about his relationship, reporting that his girlfriend has not wanted to be affectionate or to have intercourse with him for the past 9 months due to a suspected sexual trauma history. The second client, a 26-year old female, reported depressive symptoms precipitated by a romantic relationship break up which occurred two years ago. Using a two-way mirror to observe testing and therapy sessions provided a rich learning experience and reduced anxiety for the clients; however, the room got stuffy quickly and the poor volume combined with noises from the outside made the 4-hour observation rather trying. On Thursday, we listened to a lecture on hypnosis and watched a demonstration of hypnosis on a fellow classmate who wanted to stop smoking. The lecture and the demonstration shattered some myths about hypnosis and explained its applicability in therapeutic contexts; however, although some cases applying clinical hypnosis yield alleged success, that was not the case for our fellow student who volunteered for the demonstration. On Friday, we discussed the testing results, compared the reports to the ones written in the US, and had supervision in Spanish about the new cases. Because there is so much variation in report writing, we deduced that the reports from the last two weeks of testing did resemble reports that are written in the US.


In addition to the usual Spanish classes in the afternoon, we also had the opportunity of taking extra Spanish classes on Monday and Tuesday mornings rather than going to practicum. The morning Spanish classes reviewed the basics of grammar and made for a nice transition into the advanced grammar in the afternoon. People who were identified as having an “excellent” level of Spanish fluency attended psychology classes taught in Spanish.


On Wednesday, we had a 3-hour dance class in which we learned merengue, salsa, and watched videos of other Latin dances. On Friday afternoon, we had a tour of the Teatro Nacional in San Jose and shopped for souvenirs at a street market. On Saturday, UNIBE set up a tour with a tourism company, allowing us to venture out ziplining (or “canopy” as they call it here) and to Baldi Hot Springs Resort and Spa, a hotel at the base of a volcano. The canopy was amazing and everyone in our group of 18, plus the tour guide and bus driver, ziplined through 12 different lines, one in the fashion of Tarzan and the ultimate in the fashion of Superman. The Baldi Hot Springs were a great way to relax after a week of intensive practicum hours and Spanish classes, swimming in approximately 29 pools of various temperatures and enjoying the water slides. The drive to the canopy and the hot springs was breathtaking, overlooking expansive verdant hills colored with Costa Rican houses, exotic flowers, and rivers. Lunch and dinner were included in our trip and we enjoyed the striking flavors of Costa Rican food as well as the comfort of familiar food found in the US.

Hasta pronto!