For those of you who don’t know, I have discerned my specialization and, subsequently, my sub-specialization for school. I want to work in a clinical setting with refugees and all displaced peoples (victims of trafficking, migrant workers, illegal (and legal) immigrants). I really want to do is develop culturally based forms of practice. Our society pushes medicine especially when it comes to mental health disorders. People whom we consider mentally unstable or mentally ill we want to treat with medicine. Let me tell you something, while psychotropic drugs can have a positive influence and bring about some changes, ultimately they affect brain chemistry and brain functioning beyond a point that medical science has explored. In fact, most prescription processes tend to be a lot of guess-work. I’m not saying psychiatrists are just guess what medications to put people on or what dose– there are certain drugs found to help and aid correction of hormone production, but there is a lot we don’t know. A level of medication may work for one person, but may be too high or too low for another one. Once a person is on psychotropic medication, their brains neuron signals change to accommodate that drug and often come to depend on it for function; people get off the medication, if they choose to or have to for whatever reason, they could be faced with a whole new set of problems. Not only that, but the side effects of these drugs are only marginally better than what they are correcting: instead of anxiety attacks, you may only have to deal with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
So there are really two reasons I want to explore alternate forms of therapy. 1.) international populations have different ideas of mental illness and our system of treating mental illness is stigmatizing. Many people do not seek treatment because their culture and society (and ours) isolates people diagnosed with a mental illness. 2.) Our society (the United States) could benefit from learning other approaches to therapy. For instance, in Zimbabwe people with schizophrenia are thought to be possed by a demon. In order to appease the demon, the person is given a lot of fruits and vegetables, which studies have shown are beneficial in helping reduce hallucinations found in most people with schizophrenia. The community supports the person, treating the mental illness as an invasive entity, and the person functions within the community.
So I am really hoping for this internship placement. Please pray for me, keep me in your thoughts, and cross all lucky appendages.