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Archive for August, 2012

So I was sitting with two of my friends by Chao Praya River drinking soda and eating red beans in coconut milk with tapioca and coconut.  One was a psychiatrist and the other, a clinical psychologist. And we were discussing lofty deep psychological perspectives reflecting on the importance of being in tune with oneself, feeling connected, acknowledging the subjective aspect, deviating from linear logic that is not able to accommodate the totality of the self. And in the midst of this deep conversation I said, “That’s why I like Christina Aguilera and her song, ‘Voice Within.” They did not quite know how to respond to my remark initially but finally came to acknowledge the importance of Christina Aguilera in affirming the need to embrace the primal self.

The primal is us and we can never get rid of it. It is who we are and the linear logic is not able to accommodate the primal self because it is raw and fragmented. It is non-systematic and random. It just is and to dismiss is suicidal of the soul. It does not mean that we have to follow its lead at every turn. The primal needs to be regulated and contained. But it is so essential to acknowledge its place within our lives. It is the source of passion, the drive for life, the construction of life’s meaning. When we feel alienated, it invites us through return to its source and be reconnected with the depth of who we are. Linear reasoning delineates while grace embraces. Some where within our theological reflection it is important for us to remember that there is always a place for the primal self. It can be regulated but not denied. And it is ok.

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Workshop on PTSD

During the past week I was privileged to coordinate a workshop for staff (social workers, lawyers, psychologists) working for the Ministry of Social Development and Welfare, Thailand. The Ministry provides shelters for victims of domestic violence, abuse, abandonment, and human trafficking. The shelters are located all over the country. 40 representatives from various parts of the country were selected to attend this workshop. The objectives were to provide basic training in understanding and treating PTSD and to also understand secondary trauma (and how to deal with secondary trauma). It was a collaborative effort between the Ministry, Center for Migration at Chulalongkorn University, and Loma Linda University School of Religion. The speakers were Dr. Janelle Jones, MD (Psychiatrist) and Dr. Heidi Ardern, PhD (Clinical Psychologist). We learned many interesting information regarding psychotropic medication, symptoms of PTSD, different treatment approaches. We also were able to listen to various cases of domestic violence and trauma and have come to deeply appreciate the work that the staff of the Ministry are doing for the Thai people all over the country. 

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