Pura Vida!

Posted on August 11,2013 by latinomentalhealth

Hello all,

This is Tony checking in from San Jose, Costa Rica. This little guy is an ozo perezoso (3-toed sloth) and he is a good representation of the Costa rican life style and the motto Pura Vida (pure life). Everyone here seems to move a little slower (with the exception of driving) and enjoy what life has to offer.


I have come to notice this type of style in therapy as well, especially in the public health care system. Clinicians in public hospitals see multiple clients back to back and each case is more difficult then the previous one. While in our two week rotation at Calderon Guardia hospital in the child psych unit, it seemed that in every case there was some form of sexual abuse. It is hard to sit there and not tear up as these teenagers are telling their stories and seeking help. The other difficult thing about the public health care here is that many clients are seen on a 3 or 4 week basis because there are so many people seeking treatment. It makes me want to be able to do more for the clients or try to find a more efficient way so they can be seen at least twice a month, ideally once a week. Even with seeing a therapist so far apart, they are content that someone is taking the time to listen and talk with them.

In regards to the host family that I was paired with, I could have not asked for a nicer family. When they first saw me, the host dad gave me a big hug and welcomed me into his home. They are always making sure that I am not hungry or if there is anything they can do for me. The first thing they asked me was if I was allergic to any foods and they always try to accommodate me. My stay here so far has been great. I could not ask for a better immersion experience.