Hola from Ecuador

Posted on August 07,2014 by latinomentalhealth

Each time I embark on a new immersion adventure I am always the most nervous about potential language barriers. I obsess about my language capabilities and worry if I will be understood by locals. Fortunately, the language of compassion is something that is easily translated and understood... even in the Amazon!

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Social Responsibility, Latino Mental Health

Art Therapy at MSPP? The Healing Power of the Arts and Psychology

Posted on October 11,2013 by snguyen617

I was walking to the first floor kitchen to heat up lunch a few weeks ago when I saw some 'action' going on in the first floor lounge. In case you forgot, I'm new here. For all I know, commotion in the lounge could be a daily event. So, I ignored it. I stuck my food in the microwave, hit the auto-reheat button, ate and then went to class.

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Tagged Social Responsibility, Counseling Psychology

Going Clinical for Spring Break

Posted on April 26,2013 by hmonkmspp

Felix Trede is a 1st year student in the Clinical PsyD program at MSPP. I have had the pleasure of having clinical seminar with Felix all year. Our seminar class has become sort of a mini-family, and we often share both academic and personal triumphs with one another. When we came back from break, Felix told our class about a really incredible experience he had doing mental health work in Mexico, and I asked him if he would share his experience with our blog readers. He graciously answered my interview questions, despite us being in the middle of finals.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Latino Mental Health

Baby Got BARCC!... 2013 BARCC Walk for Change!

Posted on April 08,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

With my best peeps at the BARCC walk. :)

Boston is a big-time "walk" city. You'll be moseying down the street - minding your bidness - and all of a sudden, you'll find yourself walking in a "walk" - I've accidentally supported all sorts of causes.

And yesterday Boston hosted two major walks: the MS walk, which one of my roommates attended, and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Walk for Change. Although I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to support my roomie in the MS walk, I attended, as a BARCC volunteer, the Walk for Change and had an amazing time!

This year's walk was particularly exciting for me as I was accompanied by my partner and some of my closest friends. Also, many people from my MSPP practicum site attended as "Team Wheelock," including the director of the counseling center and my fellow intern Emily. And of course, I ran into many of my fellow BARCC workers.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, although it was a little cold. (Honestly, given my adrenaline rush and hyper-stimulation, I didn't even realize how cold it was until I reached to grab something out of my pocket and realized that I had lost all fine motor skills) The walk started in Cambridge and wrapped around the Charles River, where the MIT crew team was practicing and behind which Back Bay stretched. It felt amazing to wind our fervor and support for this cause throughout this beautiful city.

Whether it's to support a cure for MS, the end to sexual violence, a cure for breast cancer, or Boston (ahem, Freedom Trail is the walk to end all walks), participating in a walk is a great way to explore and appreciate the city and support a fabulous cause. See ya out there. :)

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer

Posted on April 01,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

Erika, Emily, Dana, and me at the "after party" for MMRP. :)

On Thursday, MSPP held its performance of Eve Ensler's A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer, an event that I co-directed with my friend Erika. In some ways, I am glad that the event is over as it was a lot to take on (and as I no longer have to daily spell out the super long, comma-filled title of "A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer"). But I will miss being a part of this small group and endeavor that inspired me so much.

Given that I was co-running MMRP (yay acronyms), I sometimes was more consumed with managing the details and technicalities of the event (i.e. running auditions and rehearsals; figuring out AV and food stuff; contacting potential donors and collecting donations for the silent auction; etc) than thinking about and celebrating the event's empowerment-themed message. But Thursday finally came, and after a day of running around ragged - setting up the donated gifts for the auction, arranging chairs, printing out signs - the performance finally began. With no more responsibilities left, I felt like I could finally hear and listen to the words of the monologues: with every punch...; another self that floated above me...; to the graveyard by the river, I chose freedom...; over it...; it could have been anywhere...; one in three women...; etc. etc. etc. The words hit me hard, and I often found myself tearing up; looking into the audience, I saw that others were getting a lil' verklempt as well. As somber as some of the pieces were, they were poignant, and I felt empowered by the fact that the woman's voice was not just speaking - it was being heard. Nine of us spoke, and the audience, which was comprised of about 50 people, listened. I hope that that those audience members will now use their own voice to pass on the message of MMRP to others, so that the One Billion Rising movement can continue to spread.

I am so glad that MSPP had this opportunity to experience A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer and I especially appreciate the opportunity to have been a part of this event and overall movement. For all those who are interested, I recommend that you check out V-Day events in your area and become a part of this movement as well. :) xoxo.

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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility


Posted on March 27,2013 by cpembertonmspp

Last Thursday a small group of students, including myself, attended an event where we watched sections of the war documentary Restrepo and former Infantry Sergeant Brendan O’Byrne gave a moving recount of his experience in Afghanistan and an exploration of the unseen wounds that too often remain after combat has ended and the physical wounds have healed. Mr. O’Byrne’s frank and uncensored talk served as a powerful reminder of why I am pursuing a career in mental health. His insight and dedication to sharing his experience as well as his ongoing personal healing process serve as a beacon, for student-Veterans like myself, guiding us forward into a field that surely needs as many qualified and experienced (both academically and in the field) as can be produced. That being said, if you are a student –Veteran and you happen across this, I strongly recommend you take a look at the possibility of a career in mental health.

Finally, I would like to offer my personal thanks and appreciation to Gretchen Nash, Rob Chester, and everyone else that made this and every other event possible through their hard work and dedication to both the students at MSPP and the field of psychology itself; thank you.

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Primary Care Psychology, Veterans

How It's Done

Posted on March 17,2013 by cpembertonmspp

When I consider the vast amount of different tasks I had to accomplish over the past week, I wonder how in the world I did it (okay, so maybe a couple items on the to-do list still need to be checked off). Between transcribing mock session video, fulfilling Train Vets obligations, participating in interview day, and having Drill at my Army Reserve unit on Saturday and Sunday, not to mention practicum and normal coursework/readings, I am so completed drained that I only put half a tank of gas in my car because I was too tired to stand there and wait for the tank to fill.

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Experiential Education, Primary Care Psychology, Veterans

"Let yourself be puzzled by the obvious." - Noam Chomsky

Posted on February 16,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp

Noam Chomsky, the dot on the left, answering questions after the screening of the documentary.

My first introduction to linguist/cognitive scientist/political critic Noam Chomsky was through Ali G's prankster interview where he was asked such monumental questions as, "Why don't you create a new language?... you could make a lot of money." Chomsky responded with, "You can do it if you like, and nobody would pay the slightest attention to you because it's a waste of time." (I'd post a link to the interview except Ali G asks some questions that might not be so school-blog-friendly)

Luckily, my latest exposure to Chomsky fostered a more intellectual and - how do you say - IN-PERSON feel. :) Given that Boston is a "college town," the universities often host events, many of which are free, featuring high-profile professors and researchers presenting their thoughts and ideas. On Tuesday, MIT hosted a free screening of the animated documentary Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, a film based on an interview with Chomsky, followed by a Q&A with the man himself. After practicum, Kishore and I booked it to MIT, stood in line for about 45 minutes, met some MIT student who we really vibed with (I knew she was my kinda people when she dropped the f-bomb like a thousand times), and then finally got seated and had our minds blown.

The interview focused mostly on Chomsky's linguistic work, which is based on a computational-cognitive approach to understanding language. He has a fondness for being skeptical about taken-for-granted knowledge, particularly in regards to language - how is this unbelievably complex verbal code, our primary means for communicating our inner world to others, acquired? How is it that infants and toddlers are able to grasp the structures and rules of language despite such relatively minimal exposure to it? Are we all innately wired with some cognitive blueprint for syntax and linguistic structure? Chomsky's open-mindedness, flexibility of thought, and overall "let's start from scratch" approach inspires me to be okay with looking at psychology with a sense of healthy skepticism.

After having provided such richly complex, abstract responses, Chomsky was then asked, "What makes you happy?" He stumbled for a moment - "uh, uh." As we sat in anticipation of some wow-inducing response that would give us the answer to happiness, he said, "My kids, my grandkids, and my friends." No verbs, prepositions, adjectives. No skepticism about his answer or about the definition of "happiness." Just a cut-to-the-chase certainty: kids, grandkids, friends. After all this intellectual talk, it felt sort of bland (I mean, if that's all he's gonna say, could he at least drop an f-bomb or something to spice it up?).

Once the event was over, Kishore and I walked to Central Square for a bite. On the walk, we talked about the film - debated about language and such - and then grabbed a wrap and smoothie and listened to a live bluegrass show without speaking much. Suddenly I realized that Chomsky had gotten it right - I knew exactly what he meant: we can sit and intellectually search for answers, but, in the end, the only truth of which I am certain is how happy I am spending time, even if just in silence, with a best friend. :)

(Link to the event/movie trailer: http://lsc.mit.edu/schedule/2013.2q/desc-isthemanwhoistallhappy.shtml)

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston

60 Seconds of Impossibility

Posted on February 08,2013 by hmonkmspp

I am part of the Latino Mental Health Program, and my first class in the program is Introduction to Latino Culture. Our first assignment is to create a group presentation on the term "latino." The challenge: we only have 60-seconds to present. How in the world do you define an entire group of rich and unique cultures in one minute? Here's the other difficult part: my group is the only one in the class that is entirely Caucasian. I thought to myself, "this is going to be impossible."

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Tagged Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Latino Mental Health

Where My Ladies at

Posted on January 22,2013 by sdmosaligantimspp


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Tagged Clinical PsyD, Personal Growth, Social Responsibility, Around Boston